This is a fantastic read by a company that decided to take a responsive redesign project and throw some tracking numbers with it (more companies should be doing this by the way). The results were an e-commerce site made significant gains in conversions and sales transactions after converting the site to a mobile-friendly design.
Seems like a case to be made for all sites to make this change, right? How can you argue when the return on investment is so high?
The simple answer is: maybe.
Electric Pulp’s customer for sure made a significant return on their decision to become more mobile friendly. According to this blog post, there was a relatively small amount of work done:
“The [mobile updates] were typical mobile patterns. We made the site fluid. We collapsed the primary navigation menu, allowing visitors to expand it by tapping a Menu link. We increased the size of the font, the tap areas and detail photos. We reduced the number of columns.”
That’s not to say the changes were significant. Making the site more fluid is some serious UX work. The rest of the items were not too bad by themselves. Regardless, even if the effort is considered minuscule compared to all the work possible, this probably took a few months by the team.
Which brings me to the results. Testing the site after adding responsive elements brought increases to not only mobile usage, but desktop as well. It could mean people enjoyed the mobile UI so much they wanted to check it out on their desktop machines. It could also mean, however, that the numbers would have gone up regardless. The writer admits it’s hard to tell for sure.
Re-branding efforts by consulting companies are big business, regardless of the media and industry. Sometimes, a fresh coat of paint and new landscaping is all you needed to help your house. One could argue that these numbers were the result of that.
Improving the user’s experience could also be a contributing factor. I know I tend to buy from companies that make shopping easier. One look at Amazon’s mobile site is support that a well designed site is better than a beautifully designed site. Oh, great prices help too.
Changing how conversion information is collected helps, and better navigation for sure helps. Bigger pictures and faster checkout are part of the picture too.
I think that’s why I have more questions than answers from this post. Being a huge fan of the responsive site movement, I want nothing more than these stats to be the real deal. Unfortunately I have to make this argument internally and externally every day. These questions are the same I field.
While it is almost impossible to compare apples to apples for every aspect of this redesign, I think we must continue to try in every way or we won’t quantify a new industry standard of web design.