Responsive Web Design 2.0: Building Websites for a New Omnichannel User Experience
The competition to build an online store with a UX journey that is seamless from start to finish is one that site developers continue to battle. As we welcome new tech advancements, smartphone-centred commerce and, of course, a new demand for interactive shopping experiences, we expect that web design trends will continue to evolve in 2023.
In order to create an online shopping experience that ends in a conversion, the key is to engage your consumers from start to finish, no matter their device, location or accessibility.
This is where we introduce an omnichannel approach to web design. As modern-day digital natives tap into their favourite stores via a smartphone device, laptop, tablet or even a voice search, your online store must be ready to receive engagement from any angle.
Adopting an omnichannel approach could prepare you for just that. From prioritising seamless handoffs between devices to introducing responsive web applications, a consumer should be able to engage in an online journey over a number of devices and still arrive at the checkout in a seamless fashion.
“Expanding your marketing (and attribution) strategy from single channels to omnichannel is akin to leaving a trail of “branded bread crumbs” to attract, nurture and ultimately convert customers,” says Bernard May, CEO of National Positions.
The question is, how do you start leaving those branded breadcrumbs? Let’s find out.
The Benefits of An Omnichannel UX Design
So what is an omnichannel design strategy? Put simply, an omnichannel approach helps enhance a consumer’s journey when tapping into an online store across a number of devices and touchpoints. In an omnichannel world, all device-led experiences are cohesive and enable a potential lead to jump straight back into their shopping journey from any device at any time.
According to Blue Fountain’s Senior Marketing Communications Manager, Paige Weiners, omnichannel marketing is the easiest way to accommodate the way consumers interact with brands in 2023. With over 85% of shoppers now completing purchases via their smartphone, we’re more likely to dip in and out of a browsing experience, making omnichannel design a must-have for e-commerce stores.
“Imagine you’re shopping for a new rug for your home. Maybe you start your journey with a Google search for the type of rug you’re interested in,” Weiners says. “You’re at work, so you go to the website and view a few products on your desktop computer. Later, you go back to the website on your tablet, and you narrow down the options to two rugs you like. Finally, you decide you want to view the rugs in person, so you use the website’s “find in store” feature to locate the products and go in to complete the purchase.”
Offering customers the ability to access your e-commerce site from any angle increases your chances of conversion. In fact, a whopping 59% of retailers in a Retail Systems Research study claimed that Omnichannel consumers were significantly more profitable than single-channel customers.
In line with shoppers’ behaviour, over 50% of online stores have implemented omnichannel features into their design.
So how can you improve your omnichannel experience? We’ll get into that, but let’s first take a look at when consumers are most likely to use different devices to tap into your online store:
- Desktop: Consumers will most likely enter your store via their desktop when they’re looking to head on a complex shopping search or are in need of richer content, such as a blog post, long video or a full-scale map. Larger screens make it easier to enjoy a long browsing experience to the max and ensure that all content can be viewed at once.
- Mobile: If you’re looking for functionality on the go, your smartphone is the device you reach for when performing a last-minute search for an exact site or product in mind.
- Tablet: This device has become a great ‘in-between for smartphone and desktop lovers. Perfect for media consumption and creativity, a tablet offers a user a large-screen browsing experience with portable benefits. Better still, it offers users a chance to get creative, especially if an online store offers personalisation. We’re talking AR filters and virtual try-ons. A tablet-based web design is vital for a solid omnichannel experience.
If you’re new to building your own ecommerce shop, it’s important to use UX-friendly templates and an online store builder that prioritises responsive design for a number of different devices.
With this in mind, let’s jump into responsive web design 2.0 and reveal how you can curate the best omnichannel experience for your consumers when they engage with your website.
How To Build An Omnichannel User Experience
Did you know that 58.3% of web developers say that “not being responsive to different devices” is one of the key reasons ecommerce stores fail to draw in lead engagement?
If you want your consumers to enjoy a seamless experience when interacting with your brand, it’s important to ensure that they can access it from anywhere and quickly pick up where they left off.
Here are a few tricks to add to your own web design strategy in 2023 in an effort to keep your audience engaged from all angles.
Prioritise A User-Centric Design
While you may be itching to start designing content for a flurry of devices, it’s important to do your research first. The key here is to get to your demographic and work out the types of devices they are most likely to use to tap into your website.
Head back to the drawing board and make your consumers your priority. Learn more about the competitor sites they currently interact with and take notes of the content formats, site structure, and level of interaction key products receive in order to craft an experience they are excited to engage with.
In order to master the basics of user-centric design, you must first consult the data surrounding you. Take an audit of your current engagement levels, measure your mobile traffic, and even engage in social listening.
“Data is king when planning exactly how to spread your marketing mix, and when used well, it can give you an advantage over your competitors beyond what you can get from other channels,” says Sergio Alvarez, CEO and founder of AI Media Group. “Using properly attributed data from digital channels like paid search, paid social, streaming TV, and programmatic can help you understand exactly where and how your customer is interacting with your digital marketing efforts.”
With these stats behind you, it’s much easier to tailor your consumer’s journey from impression to checkout on a number of devices.
Introduce Responsive Web Applications
Did you know that the average online consumer spends 3.3 hours a day interacting with different digital touchpoints? Whether this is a smartphone, tablet, desktop or voice-powered device, your online store must be prepared to receive traffic from any source.
Introducing a responsive design strategy to the mix is, therefore a must-have for any web developer. Launching a fool-proof web application that allows a user to access all website content from any interface is a great way to ensure that your engagement stays high in a competitive arena.
These types of apps are designed using an inline style, flexible image sizing and adaptable layouts in order to ensure a consistent UX from any touchpoint. Not only does this help build a positive perception of the brand, but ensures that a consumer can continue their browsing journey from any device seamlessly.
Prioritising a ‘responsive design’ means that you can scale your content automatically and respond exactly to a consumer’s screen size or accessibility needs. This flexibility will boost your site’s overall SERP score and offer your audience the omnichannel experience they deserve.
Integrate a Seamless Handoff
Your handoff experience is one of the most important design elements to conquer when it comes to curating an omnichannel web strategy.
The whole point of omnichannel marketing is to enhance a user’s browsing experience as they hop from one device to another. This is where a handoff strategy comes into play. For example, if a consumer is browsing an online store via a mobile device and adds a product to the checkout, a website with a good handoff design ensures that the interactions made with the mobile site or app are carried over to the desktop or tablet version of the online store, for a seamless transition.
This means that your consumer can simply pick up where they left off. Netflix displays a great example of a seamless handoff with its own UX omni-strategy.
Allowing users to watch programs and add new shows to their list on any device, consumers can enjoy seeing their engagement via their smartphone also reflected on their home television when they log in from a different platform.
The key here is to add key handoff points to your web design. From practical examples such as ‘save work’ or ‘copy this QR code to pick up where you left off’ to Integrating your back-end systems and using AI to coordinate a user’s account activity across all devices, the handoff could be the difference between a conversion and a bounce.
A Seamless Future
A seamless future is on the cards for marketers who are dedicated to introducing an omnichannel approach to their web design.
“Omnichannel marketing allows you to remain relevant and competitive in a crowded market. Having so much competition means you need to figure out efficient and effective ways to stand out and really connect with your consumers,” claims Alex Quin, CMO of UADV. “In a growing digital landscape, omnichannel marketing allows you to connect with your customers through a personalised experience that can turn them into lifelong customers.”
As we tap in and out of new technologies, omnichannel shopping experiences will be more common than ever before. The question is, will you jump ahead of the curve or simply wait to embrace the newest e-commerce trend?