Responsive Web Design – You Can’t Afford Not To

If you missed previous discussions concerning the necessity of responsive web design–or you have decided to just ignore them–you are in danger of going out of business in 2014, according to Joshua Steimle, a writer for the Forbes Entrepreneur column.

If you think your company is an exception and can survive well enough without a responsive website, think again. According to Mr. Steimle,

“There are three exceptions to the rule; 1) you don’t depend on your website to stay in business, 2) you have no competitors, or 3) you are familiar with responsive design, you’ve already verified it’s not the right fit for you, as Linkedin has, and you have an alternative mobile strategy…if your company depends on its website enough that losing the business it brings to you would be a serious blow, getting a responsive website before the end of the year should be your #1 online marketing goal.”

The end of the year is fast approaching, and the holiday shopping season is already in full swing. We all know that this is the most important season for online retailers, but how does that relate to the need for responsive websites? It’s simple.

First off, if you have no clue what the term “responsive web design” refers to, don’t feel bad. The concept has only been around for a few years now (see Peter Cashmore’s piece from 2013), and a surprising number of online entrepreneurs still don’t understand its relevancy to their business operations. Given this trend, one might expect responsive web design to be a very esoteric and complex type of web sites, but nothing could be further from the truth. In reality, responsive web design simply describes a website design that adjusts gracefully to fit on a desktop, tablet, and smartphone browsers. A responsive website looks good and performs great whether you’re viewing it on your home desktop monitor or your iPhone 5. Most basically, one could say that a responsive website is one designed to perform flawlessly across a wide array of screen sizes, and this is a crucial requirement for maintaining a competitive business model in the modern world of online retail marketing.

By this point, the importance of a responsive website should be clear to any discerning reader. If not, let’s cut to the chase. According to a ZDNet article:

“People are using mobile devices like never before. (According to Pew research from this year, 56 percent of U.S. adults own smartphones and 34 percent own tablets.) They’re spending more time on them than they used to. (U.S. adults will spend 19.4 percent of their overall media time on mobile devices, on par with traditional computers, per Pew.) And of that attention, an increasing amount is dedicated to the mobile web. (Mobile browser usage doubled in the last 12 months, according to Net Applications data from this year.)”

Ultimately, mobile devices are becoming consumer’s devices of choice with which to access the internet, resulting in a huge shift in how people are purchasing. With the upcoming holiday shopping frenzy, failing to optimize your website for mobile devices could be disastrous, especially for smaller e-commerce retailers. If you’re still not convinced, here are a few more statistics to think on:

According to an article by eMarketer, “US consumers will spend $377.44 billion in 2013 on retail purchases made via smartphones or tablets, up from $23.72 billion last year.” That’s huge. And that figure will only rise throughout 2014. Furthermore, eMarketer forecasts the number of mobile shoppers in the US will increase by 24% in 2013 to 118 million consumers and represent 62% of digital shoppers. Over the next four years, the overlap between mobile and digital shoppers will steadily increase as the number of mobile shoppers to 174 million in 2016. At that point, roughly eight out of 10 digital shoppers will also be mobile shoppers.”

Can you afford to turn your back on such a substantial portion of online shoppers just because your website isn’t mobile-friendly? I didn’t think so. If your site is not yet optimized for mobile, contact the team at Inspirable, and we will get your website ready to rock’n roll on any device!

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