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Keeping your website mobile friendly

The article below is repeated from WWB Online magazine.

Keeping your website mobile friendly
Greg Poulson on how fashion retailers can adapt their websites to keep up with the latest technology.

Greg Poulson, MD of web developer and SEO specialist Freetimers, 
explains how fashion retailers can adapt their websites to keep up with the latest technology.

Fashion is all about keeping pace with the latest trends. One of the most important technological trends in recent years has been the explosion in popularity of smartphones and tablets – which has significant implications for fashion retailers.

The British fashion market is estimated to be worth £44bn with predictions that online sales will account for 11 per cent of all purchases by the end of 2013. With this in mind, fashion retailers must have a strong online presence in order to reach customers. However, desktop websites rarely convert successfully to the smaller screen. A site that is difficult to use not only fails to convert sales, it also reflects badly on your business. A good mobile site should increase sales while building that all-important brand.

Creating a user-friendly experience

As a fashion retailer, your mobile site needs to capture the essential elements of your main site to ensure continuity of identity and branding. A mobile website should also include two key features – the ability to view products properly and the facility to make payments quickly and securely. One of the most common criticisms of fashion retail sites is that images take too long to load. Users also complain that filling in forms prior to payment can be cumbersome and difficult to manage on a mobile device – which can be resolved through the use of point and click functionality. Retailers are also advised to offer check and reserve and a store locator function to increase footfall, as well as online purchasing.

Two ways of redesigning your site for mobiles:

Responsive design

This involves restructuring how the site is built and the mobile-incompatible elements so that it automatically adapts itself to “fit” the screen size of the platform it is viewed on.

Targeted design

This adds programming so a specifically targeted mobile or tablet version of the site is automatically delivered to users viewing with those devices.

In the fashion industry it can be difficult to predict which trends are fleeting and which are here to stay. However, there is little doubt that smartphones and tablets will be around for years to come, so it makes commercial sense to ensure your website is designed with its users’ mobile needs in mind.