Is Responsive Design Based E-Commerce Site Need Of The Hour?

Mobile commerce is an inevitable reality considering the smartphone penetration in the market today. Web access through mobile traffic will exceed the desktop traffic in less than a year from now. When that is how fast the mobile market is growing, mobile commerce is definitely a channel to tap into for retailers. What better way to get headway into that channel than considering responsive design for your e-commerce site. What more, the responsive design gives a headway to tap the tablet market also without any extra effort.

To answer the question of whether a responsive design based e-commerce site is the need of the hour, it is a yes and a no. Not having one is not a show stopper yet. But having one can significantly boost sales. Here are four good reasons why you should consider Responsive design right away.

Amazon: A Billion $ in sales through m-commerce.

Amazon is a good representative of anything e-commerce. They reported a Billion dollar sales in m-commerce alone last year which is definitely a strong indicator of the rising trend of mobile commerce. The mobile trend was once limited to casual browsing. Now we see that translating to serious business transactions. With PayPal and other payment gateways optimizing their services for mobile, this is the right time to have a jump-start in that direction.

Mobile research of products while watching TV

One of the most known ways among consumers to research products while watching TV is by browsing on the phone or a tablet. If you have a m-commerce powered site, this can translate to immediate business. Else, there is a huge a lag between the time the consumer views the ad and remembers to view your site to actually review the product. This lag can actually result in a lost sale. With a responsive design, you will be offering a seamless experience for your customers to browse your product catalogs and make a buy as well.

40% of people access Facebook from their phones

Facebook is one of the biggest ad channels for e-commerce. Every retailer is spending huge bucks on Facebook ads to reach prospective customers. When so much resource is pumped into that channel and 40% of the traffic accesses the channel through mobile, it is only wise to make an investment into making the site optimal for mobile and other devices.

Mobile commerce predicted to grow at 39% every year

Mobile commerce is predicted to grow at at-least 39% year on year till 2016. What this means for retailers is that, just by having a mobile site, they boost their sales. One may even argue that by lacking a mobile site, retailers may lose business. 39% is a significant number that can’t be ignored. There are more smartphones sold in a day in the US than there are babies born which quite explains the huge growth numbers.

Building Responsive designs

Though much bigger companies are looking at building native apps for their commerce sites, now, it is definitely more practical to build a site with responsive design. This strategy takes care of various devices and screen sizes without the need to invest much about developer resources. Responsive designs not only cover mobiles, but also tablets and other devices that are widely used. The Information architecture and content structure has to be redone to make your design responsive. If you use any of the e-commerce platforms like Magento, you have the option of buying responsive themes off the shelf that works like a magic across devices.

Evolution Or Eruption: How Google Spots An E-Commerce Site That Cheats

Google The Frustrated Billionaire

When the internet first kicked off the early versions of search engines had an easy job. All they had to do was look at what keywords the site seemed to associate itself with and use them to understand what the site was about. Then money was introduced into the equation!

Early websites were clunky affairs and couldn’t really sell directly off the page there was no PayPal, no eBay and no secure payment systems but as the technology evolved it became possible to sell and as soon as profit enters the room morals go out through the window.

Spam Is NOT Just Emails.

Savvy website builders soon found out that it was possible to get a site to the top of these (now valuable) search engine rankings by simply plastering over and over again the same keywords hundreds of times across each page. This is spamming. When the search engines caught on to, and put a stop to this little trick the builders started cloaking or hiding the text and off they went again.

Today this spamming still goes on with the focus now being back links but the search engines can spot this too by looking to see if your website is evolving or erupting.

Evolution or Eruption

A good gauge for the search engines is to find out how many websites link back to your site because if plenty of people link from their website to yours then your site must have something really interesting to say. That makes sense and you can see that in action with sites like Wikipedia, eBay and Amazon etc; they are trusted and have evolved from small websites into huge internet giants.

And, taking eBay as the perfect example this site has evolved slowly from being less than half a page on a website that’s main focus was on the Ebola virus!

This is evolution – growth over time.

Eruption on the other hand is when a site goes from nothing to everything seemingly overnight. Now this does happen and classic examples would be Twitter or Facebook. These eruptions on the internet effect millions of people and are as rare as volcanic eruptions on earth that effect millions of people and its due to this rarity that they are easy to spot.

Classic examples of eruption based spamming are the back link farmers, these are the guys who sell you on the idea of getting thousands of back links pointing to your site to raise its profile and you can do this for just $200. The idea is so simple its laughable. One day you have no links then one month later you’re out linking eBay!

You know those emails you get offering you Viagra or a bigger manhood, well that’s how the search engines view websites that have an eruption of back links – spam. And if that’s not bad enough the search engines hate it so much it is one of the very few areas where they actually employ real humans to visit your site to confirm that cheating is taking place, although in most cases they can simply automate and they do that by looking to see if your website is an e-commerce site.

E-commerce sites that sell everyday products don’t come onto the market and erupt!

Wow Everybody! Look at these buckets this new website has, they’ve got a handle and can hold all sorts of liquids!

I’ll give them a link and tell all my pals and I’ll do it NOW!

The back link peddlers don’t care of course, they’ve moved on. Now, they’ll tweet your website link to 5,000 twitter subscribers for $10 or put you on their Facebook page and introduce you to 20,000 friends.

Let’s just understand each other here. In the short term these cheats bring traffic but the traffic is not qualified and that’s another area that I’ll be discussing later. For now though the problem is of course that the search engines are evolving too and each time they find a cheat they knock it out and you’re site goes down the toilet, so all the real hard work you’ve done is now wasted.

There’s NO Quick Fix.

There’s no quick fix and no magic bullet, building your website is an evolutionary process but so was building your business. Today you may employ several people, have a couple of shops and vans on the road. You’ve got computers, telephones, fax machines… (a what machine?) but when you set off you put a two line advert in your local paper and went to work on shanks’s pony!

That’s evolution.

Building an online e-commerce business is an ongoing SLOW process, so forget looking for the ‘fix’ there isn’t one. The internet is a business and business involves work. Concentrate on quality content and your back links will evolve.

Differentiating Your E-Commerce Site to Attract Customers

As consumers in today’s day and age, we understand that shopping online is much more convenient and efficient than driving across town trying to find what you need. According to an eMarketer estimate, about 148 million consumers in the U.S. over the age of 14 will make at least one online purchase in 2011. This statistic will continue increasing each year as online stores become more and more prevalent. Today, stores that do not have an associated e-commerce website are lagging behind the competition.

Many companies have noticed this rising trend and have created an e-commerce site to attract these online shoppers. Unfortunately, creating the site is just the first step. You will most likely not see an immediate increase in profits after building your online store unless you find a way to differentiate your website from the millions of others. Yes, having all the right internet marketing techniques may drive more consumers to your webpage, but it won’t seal the deal unless your visitors convert into customers. You need something that will immediately catch your customers’ eyes and keep them on your site wanting to know more. This intriguing “something” can come in many forms. I can’t tell you what it is for your site – but I can point you in the right direction toward differentiating your store and increasing your revenues!

Getting Started

If you don’t already have an e-commerce website for your store, the first step is finding the platform that works for you. From personal experience, I would highly recommend using the BigCommerce platform. By the end of the day you will have a fully functional e-commerce website and you can begin selling online. But, you still need to differentiate your store from every other store on the internet.

Differentiating Your E-Commerce Site

Add rotating images on the front page to spark interest. Change the coloring and layout of the BigCommerce template to match your store’s logo. Add a map to show your location. Anything you can think of that will make your store stand out amongst the competition will help you to differentiate. You’re probably thinking – “how can I add these modifications when I don’t have the technical knowledge to do it myself or the money for a full custom designed website?” While most BigCommerce designers will only do expensive full designs, there are BigCommerce programming and design partners that do hourly web design and development as well at an extremely affordable rate.

When differentiating your store, remember that it still needs to be easily accessible for your customer. The last thing you want is a frustrated customer because she is unable to find the checkout page. To keep your e-commerce website customer-friendly remember the following tips:

Keep the search bar in a visible location so that customers can easily search for the product they want.

Do not clutter the page! While images are appealing to the customer, keep the number limited or add a separate page dedicated to an image gallery. Customers will be immediately turned off by a cluttered e-commerce site.

Don’t choose background colors that make the content hard to read. Keep it simple.
Keep the website easy to navigate.

These are just a few suggestions. The best thing to do is have a friend try going through your website and purchasing a product to make sure that everything is running smoothly.