How retailers are transforming mobile site design

E-commerce retailers are changing the design of their mobile sites and email marketing, and it is paying off. At the IRCE Focus: Web Design + Mobile Commerce conference in Orlando, Fla., this week, executives with Restaurant.com and Coastal Contacts, a web-only retailer of eyeglasses and contact lenses, unveiled some of the changes they have made to boost customer relationships and sales.

After Restaurant.com executives discovered that consumers are opening 55 percent of the site's emails on mobile devices, Restaurant.com re-designed emails primarily for mobile devices. One employee exclusively has that mobile-focused task.

Plus, Restaurant.com simplified its mobile web pages. After its shoppers filter through site search options such as location, price, and cuisine and choose a restaurant, they only need to see a simple page with the restaurant and its deal, Restaurant.com President and CMO Christopher Krohn told attendees. "Because they're at that point in the use case process, I don't want to distract them with more information," Krohn said, according to Internet Retailer.

Coastal Contacts' Vice President of web sales Braden Hoeppner has also found that it is not necessary to put a ton of information on a single screen. Because mobile shoppers typically have fast wifi connections, they don't mind clicking on a second screen for additional content, he said. Coastal Contacts provides broader options on main pages, and then shoppers click to the next page to see choices within those categories.

The retailers also debated adaptive versus responsive design for mobile web sites. Coastal Contacts uses adaptive design, in which the retailer's server detects the device the consumer is using and only sends the elements the retailer wants to show on that screen, according to Internet Retailer. This method, of course, increases download speed and does not require any changes to the desktop site, Ben Terrill, vice president of customer success at Mobify, told attendees.

Meanwhile, Restaurant.com uses responsive technique, employing a single set of software code for all devices. "Designing that way has the advantage of only requiring maintenance of a single site, instead of separate sites for desktops, tablets and smartphones," Internet Retailer reported. While it is more difficult to get each page right when designing it for separate sites, it offers advantages, according to Krohn.

For more see:
This Internet Retailer article

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