The explosive growth of mobile and ongoing proliferation of a variety of devices make responsive web design (RWD) the best option for retailers and brands that want to optimize how they engage with customers across all digital touch points. According to Internet Retailer, 261 million US consumers own mobile devices and 66 million of these device owners are shopping with them. In fact, Internet Retailer has seen a 159% increase in merchants on the IR Mobile 500 using responsive from 2013 to 2014 as merchants push to stay competitive and to meet the needs of consumers on the go.
Mobile versions of desktop sites have been a popular solution up to now, but the experience often lacks critical branding and content elements and ties up valuable staff and budget with managing two versions of a website. By delivering information from a single codebase that recognizes and adapts to the mobile device, responsive design solves both of these problems, and from a single URL.
Yet just as launching an eCommerce site is not a guarantee of business success, a highly performing responsive site takes equal consideration and planning. If not done right, responsive sites can bring as many challenges as they solve: slow performance, expensive, time consuming, and complex development testing delays, and it may unmask architectural challenges that require rewrite of the site. In a recent Moovweb study of 12 responsive sites, Internet Retailer noted that performance was 513% slower on smartphones than on PC’s and tablets with some sites taking 18.24 seconds to load, well above the 3 second industry best practice page load time.