More devices, more sales, more challenges
March 12, 2015 11:28 AM
The good news for retailers is that consumers are shopping anywhere and everywhere—on the train from a smartphone, while waiting at the doctor’s office from their tablets or at home from laptops. And it’s not just multiple device sizes and formats fostering the growth of e-commerce and m-commerce. More coffee shops and bars offer Wi-Fi, and cities like Chicago have announced that big carriers will bring LTE, or 4G, to subways.
In short, purchasing from an online retailer from just about anywhere is much faster and easier than even just a few years ago. That opens the door to more online sales but also requires that retailers design for a slew of devices that are being used by consumers in many scenarios all day long. Speakers at the IRCE Focus: Digital Design 2015 will help exploit the surge in m-commerce and e-commerce, offering tips to remove design headaches and clearing a path to drive sales.
“It’s a great positive that customers have so many ways of connecting with us, but it’s difficult to keep up with designs that work reliably and effectively across all possible iterations,” says Kevin Ertell, senior vice president, digital, at cookware and housewares retailer Sur La Table Inc. Ertell will deliver a keynote speech at IRCE Focus: Digital Design on Wednesday, March 18, entitled: Designing the Web Site to be the Hub of the Brand.
Sur La Table, like many other retailers, is increasingly moving toward using images and away from displaying a lot of text on its site. This is because consumers frequently browse from mobile devices, where text can be tough to read on a smaller screen. Mobile networks, as mentioned before, also are getting stronger and can load rich content, like high-definition images, faster than before, Ertell says.
Adapting to mobile design is important to Fathead LLC, an e-retailer of vinyl wall decals and home decor because sales coming from consumers using mobile devices are growing fast. Fathead’s mobile sales grew 50% last year, topping out at $10.1 million, or just under a quarter of total online sales, according to Internet Retailer’s 2015 Mobile 500. Michael Layne, director of Internet marketing at Fathead, will present a featured address at the conference entitled: Responsive Design: The Year-One Lessons That Build an Even Better Year Two. Responsive design is a technique many retailers are employing with the increase in the many varying sizes of mobile devices. Instead of a retailer creating separate sites for the plethora of devices, responsive design lets retailers design a site using a single codebase that automatically adapts to the screen size a shopper is using.
“The question to ask yourself is, when 60% of your traffic is on touchscreen devices, why are you still basing your designs on desktop monitors?” Layne says.
Fathead is No. 356 in the Internet Retailer 2014 Top 500 Guide; Sur La Table is No. 303.