responsive designAfter years of rising e-commerce around the world, consumers have developed an expectation for immediate gratification.  The latest proof points for this trend lie in the omnipresence of mobile devices, and specifically the rise in mobile commerce. In the U.S., the average household has 5.7 mobile devices, and around the world, 56 percent of people own a smartphone. Of that 56 percent, half use mobile as their primary Internet source. A full 72 percent of tablet owners make online purchases from their tablets weekly. When consumers want to shop, more and more of them are reaching for mobile devices as their preferred browsing and purchasing tools.

Given the global adoration for all things mobile, how can international brands be sure they are making the most of these channels? Smartphones and tablets represent an unquestionably valuable marketing opportunity, but it’s one that can be easily squandered if it’s not handled correctly. A key component of effective mobile optimization includes ensuring a brand’s mobile sites are not only properly configured for any device, but also properly adjusted for the audience and their distinct preferences and habits. One solution for both of these concerns lies in using responsive design – a template that that caters to any mobile screen resolution and creates the best possible experience for the person holding the device.

Responsive design has three primary benefits:

1. One core set of content is being translated and localized for the given audience, rather than multiple sites needing to be individually adjusted. This approach is more efficient and accurate since there is less opportunity for any new material to fall through the cracks.

2. Aside from the tactical concerns with executing multiple translations, creating a single site that adapts to the device ensures that more abstract concepts, such as branding and user experience, remain intact, as well. This means a brand can localize the content for the region on one site and remain confident that it is consistent across other regions, ultimately building loyalty and positive recognition.

3. Google likes responsive design, which means brands should, too, if they care at all about SEO (and most do). Google considers this approach to be a best practice as it makes it exponentially easier to share information across devices. Maintaining a singular presence across channels means that rather than having to track down different URLs depending on the devices in play, users can share and interact with the sites seamlessly. This helps SEO results once again by boosting the value of the brand’s overall campaign.

While responsive design sounds great on paper, it’s far from a foolproof strategy. Even when using a responsive design, international brands still need to ensure that one original site represents their presence in a way that is suited to the target consumers. This means developing content that accurately reflects the unique audiences the brand is targeting. However, by taking steps to minimize risk factors in localization, enhance brand messaging and build responsive platforms, global companies can greatly increase their chances of tapping into this mobile frenzy for their benefit.