How does your flower shop website look on a phone or tablet?

Sep 30, 2014

 

More florists are realizing they need a responsive website, one that looks good from mobile phone and tablets, but they aren't sure how to test their site to see just how well it performs.

 
 
I deal with florists, and while FloristWare doesn’t sell websites the topic comes up a lot in conversation with our clients.
 
The question we used to get was “do we really need an ecommerce website for our flower shop?” Several colleagues spent much of the past decade telling florists that they needed eccommerce websites, and sometimes florists asked us for a second opinion. The answer was of course yes, absolutely, and almost all of the shops we deal with now have websites that let their customers order flowers online.
 
The question we get now is different, and it has to do with the way that mobile devices have proliferated. More people are doing more of their online shopping from mobile devices like smartphones and tablets, and our colleagues have been explaining that florists no longer just need a website, they need a responsive website that performs well on mobile devices. Again they are doing a great job and the message is getting through - florists are starting to understand that a responsive web design is not an option but a necessity.
 
But some florists aren’t sure if they have a responsive website. The question we hear most often now isn’t “do I need a responsive website?”, it’s “uh, how can I tell whether I have a responsive website?”.
 
The first thing we usually suggest is very simple – making the browser window very tall and narrow. Does the website change or does it just get cut off? If they say it just starts getting cut off, usually on the right, that is a good indication that it is not a responsive design. It is also a great example of why responsive design is so important… without it websites just look bad on smaller devices.
 
The next thing we usually suggest is a visit to the website http://responsive.is/. Each day this site features a great example of a responsive website. We suggest that the florist click the different device icons along the top to see how that featured site will appear on different devices in different layouts. For people that are not familiar with responsive web design this is a real eye-opener as they see the website optimize itself to the different screen sizes.
 
The next step is to paste the url for their own floral website into the white window on the top left hand corner. This lets them see how the site performs on the different devices and orientations. Again this can come as a big surprise, especially to those people that do not have responsive designs.
 
Why is it such a big surprise? It seems like most florists don’t look at their websites from mobile devices. That makes sense - they are more likely to be reviewing or testing or adminning the site from their desktop or laptop where everything looks great. Once they see just how awkward it looks and works on a phone… it usually causes some alarm.
 
How important is responsive design? Somewhere between 20% and one third of total online sales already come from handheld devices. That is part of a gradual but steady trend that shows no sign of slowing down - in fact that number is expected to triple in the next five years. And, prior to purchasing, between 50% and 90% of all traffic to ecommerce websites comes from mobile devices.
 
With that many people visiting your flower shop website from mobile devices providing a good online shopping experience is absolutely essential. Many forward thinking flower shops and online flower providers have already moved to responsive design. This is good news for the floral consumer but very bad news if you don’t have a responsive website. If your site is not responsive the shopping experience from a mobile device is likely to be very unpleasant, and more than sixty percent of customers are likely to go somewhere else.
 
And it will just get worse. As responsive design becomes more prevalent among retail websites in general (and flower shop websites in particular) customers will come to expect it, and annoyed when they don’t get it.  
 
It doesn’t matter how much you like they way your site looks when you admire it from your desktop – the fact is that more and more customers are going to be looking at the much smaller screen on their mobile phone or tablet and they are the people you need to take care of.
 
Another great site for checking how well your florist website performs on mobile devices is http://mattkersley.com/responsive/. Like the site mentioned earlier this one shows you your site as it appears on a number of different devices, but this one puts them side by side. Please note that both of the testing websites referenced were suggested by Ryan Freeman of Florist 2.0 and Strider SEO who has been offering excellent responsive websites for some time.


Category: Floral Industry

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