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eCommerce Arms Race: Can Responsive Web Design Win Over Luxury Customers?

The battle for high-end eCommerce customers is heating up. Last week, Barneys New York announced an “industry-first” responsive web design implementation across the brand’s eCommerce applications.

The move represents a strong effort from Barneys to compete online with larger competitors, like Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom. And compete Barneys must. The market for online luxury goods is on fire, with sales growing at twice the rate of the overall eCommerce market.

Why Responsive Web Design?

High-end shoppers are exacting. A visually perfect and personalized shopping experience is 100% expected. Whether a customer is at a brick-and-mortar store location or browsing merchandise on a tablet, retailers must deliver a flawless shopping experience. Without it, there is little hope to make a sale.

A responsive web design (RWD) platform allows Barneys to optimize web and mobile applications for any device. This flexibility is important because the modern shopper shifts seamlessly between different devices and contexts. Properly implemented, RWD boosts user engagement and vastly improves return-on-investment for a company’s eCommerce vertical.

What is the Future of eCommerce?

An important point here is that responsive design is not a packaged solution that immediately solves a retailer’s mobile dilemma. Instead, it is just one step in the evolution to solve for the modern customer. As the larger business community catches on to responsive design, Barneys is already a step ahead and can start to look beyond responsive.

Responsive web design typically hides unneeded content on the client side — providing good visual page structure for mobile — but still forcing a browser to download the hidden content. As a result performance issues are common, especially on weak mobile connections. Savvy retailers, like Amazon and Fathead, solve this and other responsive design pitfalls through adaptive web design. This approach uses intelligent server-side computing to pare down application size on mobile, making apps lighter and faster.

The future of eCommerce is in the continued development of omnichannel retail. A process that requires a surplus of research and a dedication to improving customer experiences. To help, Yottaa has produced a new white paper, Adaptive Web Design and the Changing Mobile Environment, that will serve as your guide to navigate the new multi-channel commerce landscape.

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