Improving the Customer Experience with Responsive Design

Ian Rogers

For IT executives within retail, the digital world continues to evolve and become increasingly challenging as you develop your omni-channel capabilities and focus on delivering a consistent customer experience across all channels. This is due to the increasing growth of various mobile devices and form factors, along with mobile becoming the preferred method for customers to access information and perform transactions. We understand you’re under huge pressure to provide brand-appropriate, mobile versions of important tools and resources.

The tough technical hurdles and high development costs for an ever-increasing number of platforms to build and support custom mobile applications are incredibly daunting. Additionally, the need to create and support separate web and mobile sites is a huge burden for IT—and a source of confusion for customers.


Adopting a responsive design methodology can result in a number of benefits for both your business and IT function.

Business benefits include:

  • Consistent customer experience. The experience across all devices is constant and brand-appropriate for both internal and external customers alike.
  • Competitive advantage. Chances are your competitors haven’t yet invested in responsive design, which gives you a perfect opportunity to deliver a superior experience across devices.
  • Increased conversion. With improved customer experience, conversion rates typically increase.
  • Improved SEO. Having one URL results in increased traffic.
  • Links and bookmarks always work. When users share links or bookmark pages on your site, those links will always work—with anyone, on any device.

IT benefits include:

  • Mobile with less cost and simpler support. Responsive design eliminates the need to create multiple versions of the same web page for mobile vs. desktop, or applications for different platforms or devices. Since no user software is installed, end-user support and updates are also simplified.
  • Shorter development schedule. Development of an entire mobile solution encompassing phone, tablet, and desktop devices normally takes a fraction of the time required for a separate mobile site, or to develop a custom app for even a single device.
  • Cleaner, lighter look and feel. Responsively designed web pages separate business logic and data from presentation, and all formatting is done in a separate cascading style sheet (CSS), resulting in simpler, faster-to-load pages.
  • Standards compliant. The key technologies are HTML and CSS 3, with JavaScript available to provide additional functionality. No special installations or licenses are required for either IT or end users.
  • User-centered, design-centered solution. The process is based around defining the user’s desired experience on each type of device, then building up presentation CSS to support it. Little or no alterations to back-end code or business logic are required, enabling the team to focus on a quality user experience.

Responsive design is not necessarily the answer to all your multi-flatworm customer experience challenges, but we believe it can play a major role in supporting the business with a cost-effective and efficient solution.

Special thanks to Peter Bickford, Slalom Consulting’s User Experience Practice Area Lead, for his contributions to this post.

About ianr2013
Ian Rogers leads the Retail Practice at Slalom Consulting and is an accomplished business leader with 20+ years in Retail/Supply Chain Management, Portfolio, Program, and Project Management. Ian’s expertise comes from working in multiple countries (including Canada, UK, US, and China) and in multiple sectors including manufacturing and multi-channel retail (office products, mass merchandising, and lifestyle brands). Over the years Ian has worked with Fortune 500 companies as both a senior line leader and as a management consultant in Supply Chain and IT. This broad-based experience enables him to take a holistic view, thereby understanding the potential impact changes in one area of the business will have on other areas.

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