SmartEtailing Blog

What Is A Responsive Website?

By Ryan Atkinson


There is no denying the fact that smartphones have forever changed the way we shop.

Consumer behavior has evolved dramatically over the past 10 years, with nearly 80% of shoppers using their smartphones and tablets to search for and purchase items. Bicycle retailers are living in a mobile commerce world, even when talking about growing in-store sales.

This changing landscape presents unique challenges for independent retailers. With mere seconds to capture a shopper's interest and present the information they seek, your website has to deliver information rapidly and intuitively on a mobile device, and nowadays that means responsive.


What is responsive web design?

Responsive web design means that the content of a website is automatically adjusted to fit a device’s screen size and orientation. When you turn your phone sideways to get a wider view and the web page also turns and scales to fit the width, that’s responsive design at work. Responsive design happens on the back end of the site, in the coding. It is one of the number one ways of creating a positive user experience when a consumer visits your website.

Consumers expect responsive

Consumers expect to be able to find exactly what they want with a few taps of their thumbs. Over 70% of consumers research their purchases—comparing brands, stores, and reading reviews—before making a purchase. Responsive design makes the user experience more positive than a static website—even if you don’t have what the consumer is looking for.

So even if you don’t carry the brand or item a customer is looking for, having your site load as a responsive design creates a positive impression in your would-be customer’s mind. A recent analysis by Google revealed that over 50% of online shoppers who encounter a non-responsive website are less likely to engage with that brand.

Is SmartEtailing currently responsive?

Elements of SmartEtailing are responsive, but the template environment is not. As consumers started to shift behaviors to mobile devices SmartEtailing responded the same way many other ecommerce providers did, by creating a mobile version of websites. A mobile website is essentially a copy of your website that is optimized for mobile devices. A server processes the information contained on your website and delivers a “mobile-optimized” version of it. Mobile design offers simpler navigation and faster load times but it doesn't deliver the experience consumers have come to expect today.

While mobile and responsive websites may appear to offer the same benefit to the consumer (automatically adjusted display of information), responsive design has performance advantages that are superior. And because responsive design all happens on the back end of site design, once it’s created it will work on new devices coming out next month or next year without further coding. Responsive websites also tend to get higher page rankings in Google.

When will SmartEtailing have responsive websites?

Many components of the SmartEtailing platform are already responsive, which has been done in recent years in order to enable our current mobile functionality. But we are currently in the process of moving away from having separate desktop and mobile versions of our websites. Creating a responsive website template environment is our top development priority. 

Our goal is to have a completely new responsive template environment available to our SmartEtailing clients in the Spring of 2017.

When will my SmartEtailing website be responsive?

A responsive website requires a significant investment in coding on the back end. For this reason the rollout of responsive websites across the SmartEtailing platform will be a sustained process. Our goal is to have every SmartEtailing website be responsive within 24 months of launching the new template. While we work through this process your current website will continue to operate and we will continue to invest in helping you effectively capture and convert customers. Your site moving to responsive will be an effective enhancement, but your current site still serves mobile visitors well.

Will I lose my information if I switch?

No. The new responsive template environment will feed off of the same database you have in your current website (product, settings, etc), it is simply a new way of rendering the content.

How much will it cost to have SmartEtailing install the new template?

Responsive templates will be available at no additional charge to anyone using SmartEtailing software. If you would like us to help you set up your responsive template, there is a one-time $500 charge for sites to be migrated to a new template. Costs may increase depending on complexity or advanced customization. Our team will work with clients on a case by case basis to determine costs associated with advanced customization projects.

Why would I pay for SmartEtailing to install the new template?

Responsive templates are much more flexible in regards to things like image sizes and page layout and as a result handle page layouts differently than before. Websites that made extensive use of tables or images for page layout will need some attention to make them look their best in a responsive environment. While we have made a concerted effort to make website management self-service, we do believe that many retailers will ultimately appreciate the peace of mind that would come from delegating this transition to experts.

Can I install the template myself?

Yes. Be aware that, while the product catalog will transfer seamlessly, non-catalog pages, headers and footers may require additional layout work because page layouts work differently in the responsive template.

Will I be able to work on my website still?

Yes, we are building new WYSIWYG editors for responsive websites and designing multiple preset components that make website management easy.

Can my own web developer work on the template?

Yes. We’ve worked to create a more standardized website environment to enable any qualified website developer familiar with the Bootstrap front-end development framework to customize the website templates.

Is this new template better than what I’m already using?

Fundamentally, the best retailers and brands are shifting their websites to a responsive style so with this update your website will be more aligned with consumers’ expectations, retail best practices and will attract Google search traffic more effectively. If you choose to keep your website on the current template environment then your website will still function well.

Will my current website automatically become responsive?

No. In order to enable this more advanced functionality we needed to construct a completely new template environment. Your website content will migrate over to the new template if you choose, but there will be modifications to the graphics and layout needed to make it function ideally.

Do I have to change my website to use a responsive template?

We highly recommend you make the switch. Responsive websites are designed to work well across all devices and this template is a significant improvement over our previous mobile web experience. On average over 50% of visits to websites are from mobile devices and the responsive templates are optimized for this.

How do I design pages in the new responsive template?

We will provide documentation to guide you in designing pages in the new responsive environment. We will build tools into SmartEtailing to make the process intuitive.

Learn more

We'd appreciate the opportunity to tell you more about the new responsive template and share details about the rollout plan so you know how this change impacts you. The details are still coming together so stay tuned for further information.


Topics: Websites Client Updates


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