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Embrace responsive Web design to lure mobile buyers: Forrester

It is tough for brands to convince some customers to try making purchases on mobile simply because they are either used to a PC or find it easier to execute transactions on one, according to Forrester’s survey of more than 4,000 respondents in its report, “It’s Time to Rejuvenate Online Transactional Experiences with Responsive Web Design.” The finding reaffirms the oft-heard claim that despite mobile’s being poised to drive future commerce, many consumers and merchants are not quite ready to make the transition.

“It’s all about delivering a great experience for the customer,” said Mark Tack, vice president of marketing, for Chicago-based Vibes. “Putting yourself in your customer’s shoes and saying how is my Web site going to look on my customers’ smartphones has to be a top priority. It just has to be a top priority.

“Data shows across all of our client base that in a lot of cases a majority of retailers’ Web site traffic is now coming through their mobile Web site versus traditional desktop,” he said. “That has resulted in a lot of retailers and brands really making sure their Web site is easy to use.

“Approaches like making sure your Web site has responsive design is a smart way to go.”

A Forrester representative could not be reached for comment.

Winning over the holdouts
Ten percent of all United States mobile users and 20 percent of United States tablet online adult users have made a purchase on these devices in the past three months, according to the Forrester survey.

Ninety percent of mobile phone users and 80 percent of tablet users remain purchase holdouts.


Fifty-three percent of the holdouts said they avoided trying mobile purchases because they are used to the familiar feeling and functionality of their PCs.

The way to win over mobile-purchase skeptics is by providing services and information the customer wants exactly when they’re looking to make a purchase on their mobile device – in what is known as the mobile moment, the report said.

Sixty-three percent of eBusiness professionals rank responsive Web design as a technology investment priority for this year, versus 40 percent in 2013.

Although starting a RWD project by rebuilding the most complex part of a Web site may not be intuitive, RWD is a great way to develop touchpoint-optimized experiences while maintaining the consistency of complex Web processes, the report said.

For one thing, consumers seek consistency across devices when using a browser.

Whether searching for a flight, buying a pair of shoes, or renewing their car insurance, today’s consumers use a variety of Web-enabled devices.

Being consistent
As they do so, they expect a consistent set of capabilities across all devices and browsers, with the user experience optimized for each. That means there is little tolerance for slim-lined mobile experiences that force the user to switch-up to a desktop to complete a task, such as choosing a seat when booking a flight, because it is not supported on mobile, according to the report.

Another reason for a RWD overhaul is that Web users often rarely encounter personalization.

Using personalization technology with a fully responsive site can be challenging as personalized experiences must be carefully crafted to work correctly across all responsive breakpoints and content must be appropriately delivered based on screen size and device capacities. However, these concerns are rarely an issue for transactional online processes as eBusiness professionals tend to apply personalization or content — targeting technologies on content pages such as the home page, search result pages, and product landing pages rather than embed them within the transaction process flows, according to the report.

“The adoption by consumers of mobile devices is more rapid than any marketer really anticipated,” Mr. Tack said. “I think that has been driven by consumers’ reliance on their mobile device and the frequency with which they are using the mobile device for all aspects of their lives, and especially for shopping.”

Final Take
Michael Barris is staff reporter on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York