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Fathead mobile conversions up 90pc YOY after responsive design revamp

PHILADELPHIA – A Fathead executive at eTail East chalked up an increase in mobile traffic and conversions from the first half of this year to a recent massive overhaul of the company’s site using responsive design.

The “Fathead’s Responsive Design Journey” session pinpointed why the company went the responsive route for a Web design to more specifically target moms with content that renders the same across multiple devices. The session also gave attendees some best practice tips before diving into their own responsive design strategies.

“Responsive design may or may not be for you,” said Michael Layne, director of Internet marketing at Fathead, Detroit, MI.

“But if you’re going to go down this road, have a goal in mind,” he said, “It might be increasing mobile transactions, it might be continuity of brand across experiences, it might just be we want one code base to manage.”

“We spent six years learning our ecommerce business and put all that in place before we started planning.”

Fathead specializes in wall graphics, and the company has more than 500 licenses from sports leagues and entertainment companies.

Going responsive
Fathead decided to implement responsive design because the company was looking to rebrand itself in addition to rolling out a new Web site.

In Dec. 2009, 12 percent of Fathead’s traffic was mobile. By the same time in 2010, traffic had almost doubled, and the brand decided to quickly roll out a mobile site in time for the holidays.

In Dec. 2012, mobile accounted for 42 percent of traffic.

The 90 percent improvement in mobile conversions compares Fathead’s conversions from the first half of 2012 to the first half of 2013.

The revenue per visitor increased more than 70 percent, and mobile revenue increased more than 538 percent year-over-year, according to Mr. Layne.

Additionally, the responsive site is credited with a 275 percent increase in mobile traffic year-over-year.

On the non-phone side, conversion rate increased 17 percent from 2012 to 2013, and revenue increased 25 percent. Revenue per visitor was also up 15 percent.

A screenshot of the site

Finding the right fit
Since Fathead’s products are visual, laying out the site on a grid helps show off images.

Mr. Layne also said that the company has a big opportunity in search, which lends itself well to responsive design.

After looking at how other companies were handling Web design, Fathead decided to roll out a site with responsive design on their own and began testing.

For example, the company learned that consumers liked looking through images, but found it difficult to browse and search through products.

Fathead also learned through a brand study that moms were some of the site’s most active users, but the experience was not set up for their needs.

Additionally, more than 100 home pages in the course of a year that could be swapped out during different sports seasons.

The goal was to fill the screen, make search more prominent and build the site around a grid system that could be easily updated and changed.

The project dumped the brand’s m-dot URL so that all of the content came under one code and set of analytics. According to Mr. Layne, this helps the marketing team have control over the site.

Since launching the new site and going through a rebranding with new advertising, Mr. Layne said that Fathead is more in tune with its target audience.

Additionally, customer satisfaction scores stayed the same after the site overhaul, even though some say that responsive design causes customer satisfaction to decrease.

Now Fathead constantly tests its site in one-column view and has stepped up its column-specific reporting.

Additionally, customer satisfaction surveys have been added to mobile and tablet users.

Television drives a spike in mobile traffic for Fathead, but not in conversions.

Instead of automatically moving towards responsive design, brands need to consider if the technology is right for them.

“It may not be for you, but have a goal in mind, observe, ask and test, have a detailed plan and make sure you know how you’re going to measure it,” Mr. Layne said.

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York