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SpiritHoods’ mobile revenue surge may quiet responsive design critics

Half the faux-fur hat maker’s site visits now come from mobile traffic, accounting for 32 percent of revenue. The results show why brands are flocking to responsive design in growing numbers as a solution to the issue of device fragmentation and the need to provide a consistent user experience across devices.

“SpiritHoods was an innovator that reaped the benefits of transitioning to responsive design early on,” said Henry Kim, co-founder and president of Symphony Commerce. “If your brand isn’t on mobile, you’re losing 50 percent or more of potential customers.

“Mobile marketers need to ensure that their sites are mobile-optimized, or risk losing millions of dollars in potential sales,” Mr. Kim said. “The easier your site is to navigate on mobile, the more likely you’ll see increased mobile conversions.”

Hot topic
Responsive design is a hot topic amongst mobile marketers. While many believe the technology is a step forward in the quest for strong mobile experiences, others disagree.

The attraction of responsive design is that it gives marketers a way to design one site and still deliver an experience tailored for multiple devices by prioritizing different elements depending upon what device a consumer is accessing the site from. This is why NASCAR, Disney, Microsoft, BBC and others have embraced it.

Using responsive design, brands are able to conserve resources, update content more easily and provide a more consistent user experience across screens.

Critics, however, argue that a responsive Web site may not be able to adequately address the needs of every user with a single strategy, especially if those needs are significantly different.

Some marketers may think they are delivering a strong mobile user experience via responsive design when all they are doing is extending desktop content to mobile without considering the mobile user’s wants, critics say.

SpiritHoods turned to responsive design to extend its existing online storefront and improve customers’ mobile shopping experience. 

It credits its faster load speeds with helping to drive up mobile conversions/sales 1,000 percent in just five months. 

Previously, SpiritHoods were being sold via an online storefront that was not mobile-optimized.

As the company grew, it became more difficult to juggle the demands of a growing wholesale business and a direct-to-consumer business. 

To manage the increased demand, SpiritHoods migrated its online storefront to Symphony Commerce’s platform, which was optimized for Web, tablet and mobile devices.

On the go
With the company experiencing rapid growth – nearly 500 percent in its second year – SpiritHoods needed a scalable commerce solution. SpiritHoods knew that to achieve the greatest possible sales, its site would have to be accessible to young, urban customers who were always on the go.

Following an appearance on NBC’s “Shark Tank,” a reality show that features aspiring entrepreneurs making business presentations to a panel of potential investors, SpiritHoods’ traffic spiked 10 times above average, peaking at over 15,000 concurrent visitors. 

“Because we had the infrastructure in place, supported by Symphony Commerce, between our mobile-optimized site, fast load speeds and no downtime, the company achieved a 400 percent increase in daily sales,” Mr. Kim said.

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