Mobile commerce has always been exciting, says WebLinc CEO Darren Hill, but now that some of the e-commerce platform provider’s 100 retailer clients are seeing more than 50% of their traffic stemming from smartphones and tablets, mobile commerce is impressive, Hill says.
“We are regularly signing new clients with more than half of traffic coming from mobile; e-commerce on desktop computers is secondary,” he says. “Mobile-first used to be a buzzword, but today it’s what everyone has to be doing.”
Including WebLinc. As a result of the huge shift in consumer Internet behavior from desktops and laptops to smartphones and tablets, WebLinc will only build its new clients responsive design sites. Responsive design is a technique that, generally, allows a retailer to use one code base and one set of web content to build a single site that optimizes content to fit desktops, smartphones, tablets and other devices, rather than building separate, dedicated sites per device. Responsive design is evolving fast, though, and comes in various styles.
Responsive design is the best way to design web sites for today’s multi-device, increasingly mobile consumers, Hill says. Half of the platform provider’s 100 retailer clients now offer responsive design sites, and those clients grew mobile sales in Q2 2014 by 132% compared with 98% for clients with dedicated mobile sites.
“But just getting a site to fit a particular screen size is not terribly difficult; getting that changing site to work well on all devices at all network speeds is what we strive for,” Hill says.
As a result, WebLinc uses a hybrid approach to responsive design, where a site first detects the kind of device requesting a web page and then sends to that device only the content needed to build a version of the site for that device, Hill says. And, he adds, WebLinc encourages its clients to use checkout systems like PayPal, which greatly streamline checkout on mobile devices, and customer accounts, where customers save default shipping and payment information with a retailer, which also greatly streamlines checkout on mobile devices.
So on smartphones on most WebLinc responsive design sites, returning customers who have retailer accounts, for example, only need to touch Checkout to then view an order confirmation page, and then touch Confirm to complete the purchase.
WebLinc clients include Nasty Gal Inc., Urban Outfitters Inc. and Hello Kitty. Nasty Gal is No. 205 in the newly published 2015 Internet Retailer Mobile 500 and Urban Outfitters is No. 87.
An increasing number of retailers are choosing responsive design over stand-alone optimized sites for smartphones and tablets as they see mobile traffic rising dramatically. The number of retailers in the 2015 Internet Retailer Mobile 500 with responsive design sites reached 103, up a whopping 164% from 39 last year.
Follow Bill Siwicki, editor of the 2015 Internet Retailer Mobile 500 and managing editor, mobile commerce, at Internet Retailer, at @IRmcommerce.