Can responsive design help integrate channels?
For omnichannel retail marketing, consistency is key. Customers want to find the same deals, prices and service regardless of how they make a purchase. In addition to integrating their retail management software across channels, merchants can provide consumers with a more seamless experience by making sure their online presence is consistent for all devices. Responsive website design is one option that retailers should consider as mobile becomes increasingly important.
Mobile presence central to marketing
According to Strategy Analytics, mobile phone sales have increased about 5 percent each year, reaching 1.7 billion units in 2013. As smartphone and tablet use becomes more pervasive, shoppers are turning to their devices to look up stores, browse offerings, read emails and make purchases. For that reason, merchants that want to stay ahead of the competition need to make sure their Web presence is convenient and appealing to mobile users.
When creating a mobile presence, retailers must make sure it's integrated with the rest of their Web presence and retail technology. According to Retail Technology Review, merchants need to ensure that customers can see up-to-date information about inventory, prices, deals and orders on any platform. Consumers expect the same procedures and policies for making purchases, regardless of the channel they're using. Unfortunately, the source noted, less than half of retailers use integrated business processes and technology.
Responsive design can help simplify online presence
One way to improve multichannel integration is to make sure websites are consistent across devices. For some retailers, responsive design is the best option. Responsive websites automatically adjust based on screen size, device and locality, providing the optimal Web experience on any devices, without requiring merchants to maintain individual sites for each platform. This helps to ensure that price changes, inventory updates and store news are all presented in the same way for all devices. Responsive design also helps websites to appear higher in Google search results, Business2Community noted.
At the National Retail Federation (NRF) Convention, held January 12-15 in New York City, industry leaders discussed the pros and cons of responsive design. The development process can take longer, and might be challenging for stores with a lot of SKUs, said Jay Dunn of Bare Necessities, according to the NRF blog. Other retailers use a combination of responsive design, mobile websites and apps to provide the best information for customers. For example, the Mall of America uses responsive design for its main site but creates unique, simple sites for promotions that change frequently.
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