Mobile eCommerce: Native App or Responsive Web Design ? We Love The Latter !

By Anthony Fornabiao, VP of Sales, Solveda LLC


This headline from a well-known industry magazine caught my eye recently so I decided to reach out to a mid-sized local retailer. It was pretty clear to me that with a thriving online business they definitely needed a better mobile solution. What was less clear was the ROI on building a specific iPhone or Droid “app”, and who would actually go to the trouble of downloading the “app”, let alone using it for purchases? Turns out that they were thinking exactly the same thing.

At Solveda we think about this as “small device”. Maybe it’s an iPhone, maybe a Droid, maybe an iPad or an iPad mini. If we were to custom build an “app” for each of these devices none of our clients would ever recoup the development costs. And who knows what the next device will be.

Our approach is to design sites for “Responsive Web Design”, or RWD for short.

RWD is a design technique whereby the display will “respond” to the available space it has to work in. Think about an eCommerce page listing products available for purchase. On a desktop there may be 4 products displayed horizontally across the page, on an iPad perhaps there are 3, and on a smartphone in landscape mode only 2 are displayed. The basic premise is to never have a horizontal scroll bar, just keep responding!

There are many design and implementation decisions to be made and it’s can be tricky when you have to consider how an eCommerce solution will be viewed on an array of different devices. With time and experience we’ve shown we’re up to the task and can advise and implement based on the RWD knowledge and best practices that we’ve attained over the last few years.

And one last thought on RWD—discussions are typically around smartphones and other “small devices”. But what about those consumers with very large devices like a big office monitor or TV display? Well our RWD approach is truly responsive, and if more space is available we will display more information. It’s responsive in every way!

At Solveda we would always recommend that your eCommerce site is RWD right from the start. This has become a standard for all of our implementations. For most of your consumers this will provide a perfectly acceptable journey through your catalog and into the check-out process. Once this baseline is in place other more specific “apps” can be considered, based on your customer base and their purchasing habits. For most of our clients, the RWD solution fits the bill without the need for these “apps”. A dollar saved is a dollar earned!  Share your comments .