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Despite growing multi-device access, 49 of UK’s top 50 retailers fail to host responsive websites

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Tablet shipments are expected to bypass the number of PCs and with Christmas approaching there is an influx of new Internet enabled devices – including Google Glass and Samsung’s Galaxy Gear Smartwatch. However, research reveals that retailers are failing to adapt to the shifts in online consumption and purchasing habits. In fact, just one of the UK’s top 50 most visited retail sites, Currys , currently hosts a responsive website – where content on the site automatically adapts according to the device being used.

The findings, revealed by digital commerce solutions vendor Venda, also show that nearly a quarter of the websites still do not have a mobile optimised site – including major retail and mobile player Apple. Additionally, 25 of these retailers are hosting their mobile site under a different URL structure to their existing website, which could be negatively impacting their SEO rankings. As a result, such retailers are inadvertently driving customers to different URLs, resulting in mobile traffic being ranked separately to traditional website traffic.

“Consumer behaviour has changed rapidly over the last few years and this trend shows only signs of acceleration,” says Eric Abensur, CEO, Venda. “We now use phones, televisions, laptops, desktops and soon even glasses and watches to access our favourite brands and retailers. In fact, the wearable device market has been tipped to ship 485 million devices annually by 20184. But how can we deliver a consistent user experience across such a range of devices and capabilities? The answer lies in a suite of technology and design techniques which are collectively referred to as Responsive Web Design.”

Launching with multi-branded footwear retailer, Cloggs, Venda’s Responsive Web Design (RWD) will help Cloggs and other Venda customers grow their revenues from the emerging and growing number of mobile consumers driving the m-commerce boom. By ensuring that all content dynamically adapts to, and optimises for, the consumer’s device, the RWD solution delivers the best possible user experience regardless of the device consumers are using to access the site.

With the actual site content and functionality being determined by the dimensions and capabilities of the device being used, customers are kept more engaged by no longer having to navigate a site designed for desktop PCs. With consideration also given to the speed of the device and its connection, further improving user experience, the solution encourages repeat site visits, higher conversion rates and ultimately sales.

Chris Thomas, Manager Director, Cloggs says: “It’s increasingly obvious how a range of mobile devices are changing the way people shop online – in fact almost half of our traffic comes from a mobile or tablet device. Mobile browsing is often a customer’s first step when making a purchase, but a bad browsing experience can mean retailers losing customers at an early stage of the buying decision. Venda’s innovative RWD solution reduces this possibility and presents an opportunity for us to get ahead of the game, as we’re now one of a few top UK retailers that offer a responsive site. We’re already seeing around a 30 per cent improvement in our mobile conversion rates and the new responsive site will really allow us to start accessing the mobile traffic that is growing every day”.

Retailers that adopt the RWD solution will also benefit from the wider online reach and audience it provides. Operating on a single responsive site, retailers’ SEO authority is maximised, with all mobile traffic being directed to one consistent URL. In addition, the consistent URL means that customers can share links knowing that, when viewed, the content will always be optimised for the viewing device and not the device the link was shared from.

Additionally, the solution removes the requirement for retailers to host a multitude of device-specific sites. By maintaining a single site, retailers benefit from minimising costs and increasing agility and speed to market. RWD will also help improve off-line sales – by optimising the mobile experience and allowing consumers to easily access information about products via their mobile devices while out shopping on the high street.

“RWD is the only available way for retailers to deal with the multitude of devices customers are using to interact with brands and, offering a seamless user experience cannot be underestimated. Launching a RWD solution fits perfectly with our mission and purpose at Venda, which is to help build the future of retail, and allow our customers to adapt to the different devices that will be launched in the future. By simplifying the running of their operations, while also offering a better user experience to their customers, Venda is helping retailers grow revenues in the most cost-effective way”, Abensur added.

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