Upwardly Mobile

If you want to keep up with Gen Y and Gen Z, make sure your website is responsive

Once upon a time, developers ­created two separate, nearly identical websites for every URL—one for laptops and desktops, and a mobile site that was configured for the miniscule proportions of smartphone screens.

Now, thanks to responsive design, a tool that neatly arranges a site’s many elements (even when the screen is tiny), there’s usually just one iteration, which bends and stretches to fit any screen.

But too many jewelry industry sites are, in fact, unresponsive, and either don’t load correctly on a mobile device or become chaotic-looking or even unusable. (You can test yours by narrowing your browser window; if the elements on-screen stack up nicely, your site is responsive.) 

According to a 2017 report by digital marketing firm Smart Insights, mobile digital media time in the United States is now significantly higher (accounting for 51 percent of users’ total screen time) than time logged on desktops and laptops (42 percent total).

Consumer eyeballs are moving to mobile—and if you aren’t following them, your brand is bound to suffer. Below, a few tips to help you optimize your mobile mojo.

Where It’s At

Though people are spending more time on devices such as smartphones, when it comes to shopping for jewelry and other merchandise, they might browse but they won’t necessarily buy. The conversion rate (percentage of prospects that yield a sale) for mobile is still lower than the rate for ­desktops and laptops—perhaps because completing forms is easier on a larger screen. According to analyst Mary Meeker’s latest much-lauded Internet Trends report, in 2016 the conversion rate for mobile was 1.55; on desktops/laptops, it was 4.14.

Where It’s Going

If customers tend not to purchase on their mobile devices, what’s all the fuss about putting mobile first in retailing? Simply put, 56 percent of online searches in retail originate on a mobile device. And as members of Gen Z (the generation after the millennials) begin to make money, mobile’s conversion rate is expected to skyrocket. So even when you’re not doing much actual business on mobile, it may be making you money as a pure-play search tool.

Check Your Traffic

Even if your site is mobile-responsive—and looks pretty sweet on your new iPhone—you “should definitely be checking your Google analytics page to view how much traffic you’re getting on mobile versus desktop,” says Christie Thompson, marketing maven for Richmond, Va.–based brand development firm Campfire & Co. If your analytics reveal lots of “bounces”—tech talk for when a user spends only a few seconds on your site—“you may have some problems with your mobile site.” At the very least, “make sure all your contact info is legible and easy to access on a mobile device,” she adds. “Above all, you need to be findable.”

(Good Vibrations Images/Stocksy.com)

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