An Analysis on Canadian Responsive Websites

Canadians are embracing social media, watching videos online and using smartphones and tablets everywhere: on the go, at the workplace, while watching TV and especially while shopping.I personally use it while commuting; I must say though that although the TTC is improving its services, we still have no access to the Internet, but that’s a different topic that I can cover in a different post.

The first time I read this post it caught my attention right away, especially when I read that people using their mobile device while watching TV. It’s not only here in Canada it’s all over the globe. Around 86% of people access mobile devices while watching TV. 76% access mobile while waiting in line and 79% of people use their phones in stores.

Those are American statistics however how are we doing in Canada?

Canadian Stats

80% of Canadians are online. 93% go online for product information, and most importantly 77% Canadians are using their mobile devices while at stores.

These are important numbers retailers need to consider. What are people using their mobiles for in stores? Looking for reviews? Price comparisons and searching for competitive online retailers? When was the last time you checked if a product was cheaper online than in store? When was the last time you bought something from IKEA online instead of having to carry all the weight to the front desk? (I wish they had free delivery though)

Are Canadian retailers ready for this?

I’m new here in Canada so I only know the big names. But it seems to me that the most commons/big named retailers are all using a separate domain for their mobile sites (eg. http://m.sitename.com), here a few examples:

Pizza Pizza

Best Buy

The Bay

Future Shop

Sportchek

Some of these like Pizza Pizza even have their own apps, which you can download on your preferred device (iPhone, android, tablet)

This solution is not SEO friendly and increases maintenance costs, which some small/medium retailers can’t handle and some are not willing to pay for. A while ago I wrote about Responsive Design & Magento. It’s a nice read if you’re looking to learn how to start a responsive site in Magento. Here at Demac Media we are embracing the mobile culture in our sites and we’re working really hard to get our online retailers Mobile ready.

Is responsive easy? What will it cost me to go responsive?


Canadians are browsing the Internet mostly on Desktop and Laptops. 70% of Canadians use desktops (vs. 64% laptop computers) to access the Internet. Although 35% of people are using it on wireless handheld devices,  and 20% through gaming consoles.

Nowadays we have a huge array of devices where our web sites have to render properly mobile devices, tablets, video consoles etc. Having an app or a separate site will help you on today’s devices but how about tomorrow? How are we going to deal with TVs, fridges, Google Glass, and cars?

Today’s web answer for this is GO RESPONSIVE. Making your site work on all devices could be as easy as changing the framework, adding some grids and CSS here and there.

Is it easy? No.

It requires planning and the proper technique to work along with mobile optimization. I will talk more about mobile optimization & Magento in a future post.

Is it cheap? No.

If you start with responsive from scratch or use a progressive enhancement design (mobile first) you’ll save a lot of bucks in the future. However having a graceful degradation (going from desktop to mobile) could work for some instances. Not all though.

Then why?

It’s the best long term best solution. Go responsive, think from the ground up, and take into account that content is what matter most to your users.

Did you know that the first website ever, was responsive? Check it out here: http://info.cern.ch/hypertext/WWW/TheProject.html

So why did it change? We should all learn from the origins of the Internet and do it properly going forward.

Conclusion


Take a look at the Top 25 websites visited by Canadians. Only one eCommerce site on the list is responsive and it’s not Canadian: www.amazon.com

Any company that fails to act like a startup is doomed to fail at some point.
TONY FADELL, NEST CEO

Today’s startups usually have some incredibly good looking & functional sites. Responsive may seem like a trend today however it’s my belief that eCommerce web sites, especially Canadian eCommerce sites have a huge opportunity to improve. Let’s do things right eh!