Performance can remain an issue if a responsive site is not designed correctly.

In 2016, you’d expect that every retailer is providing a seamless experience for its customers – whether in-store, via desktop, tablet or mobile device. However, many retailers are still failing to provide a quality experience on mobile devices. This leads to frustrated consumers and lost sales.

Recent research from Adobe shows that 53 percent of mobile users are still dissatisfied with their mobile web experiences and 55 percent are unhappy with their mobile app experiences.  Akamai research also shows that 50 percent of users will abandon a site if the experience is poor; one in five consumers will not return again 

So what are some of the top complaints from consumers about their mobile experiences with retailers?

  • The need to pinch and zoom on the desktop version of a website
  • Missing features on the mobile site, such as product reviews, videos or inventory availability
  • Slow experiences that frustrate consumers – 50 percent of consumers expect a page to load in less than two seconds [cite]
  • Forcing users to start a process over again if they move to a different device

Though mobile is a major component of many different parts of the shopping journey, it’s also a link to the tablet, desktop or wearable experience.  Bronto’s recent survey shows the average US adult owns 2.9 devices and they use 1.9 devices for shopping and 1.8 for purchasing. Criteo’s data also highlights this trend in Q4 2015, showing that nearly 40 percent of all transactions occurred across multiple devices. If retailers don’t provide a great experience for the mobile consumers in this part of the journey, they will face the risk of losing sales that they may now be attributing to deskptop or tablet.

Obviously, this means that more retailers need to move to a mobile-friendly design that adapts for this multi-device shopping journey. Retailers are currently in various stages of this process. Some haven’t optimized for mobile at all, while others are turning to best practices like Responsive Web Design (RWD) to ensure shoppers have ideal online experiences – regardess of the device or screen they’re using. And if consumer demand for better experiences isn’t enough to convince etailers to make a move, consider the impact poor mobile experiences will have on a site’s SEO: Google now says that mobile friendliness will also influence site ranking. The search giant identifies RWD as a best practice.


The good news is that 59 percent of respondents to an eMarketer survey of North American retailers said mobile (including responsive design and app development) and marketing were in their top three priorities for digital business in 2016. However, simply implementing RWD isn’t a cure-all for those mCommerce gripes we noted previously.

RWD is incredibly important and absolutely should be embraced by site owners, but it’s important to know that it can also negatively impact site performance because of its tendency to “over download” and bog down sites. Another feature of RWD that can become a shortcoming is the fluid manner in which it delivers high-resolution images and scales them to fit smaller screen sizes. While the image dimensions change, the actual size and weight of the image does not, and this could hinder site performance. The good news is that there are solutions, like server-side device awareness which combines adaptive delivery with a responsive client side component (RESS) and cloud-based image management, that allay these potential concerns. The takeaway, however, is that, like anything else, RWD is not a “set it and forget it” technology. Site owners need to understand how their pages are loading across an array of screens, operating systems and devices, to ensure that experiences are optimal.

Mobile traffic growth doesn’t show any signs of slowing. For instance, on the Akamai platform, 38.2 percent of global traffic is from mobile devices and last holiday season mobile traffic peaked at 57.6 percent. We continue to see mobile usage grow each month, so you should expect even higher mobile peaks this holiday season. Now is the time to see if your site is guilty of some of these top consumer complaints and make sure you are properly addressing the mobile customer experience by looking beyond last-click attribution. Your site is always one back button click away from your competition and it’s not too late to fine tune your mobile experience to delight your customers for the 2016 holiday season.

Akamai provides content delivery network services to 339 of the Top 1000 online retailers in North America, according to