Here’s a scary fact. By the end of 2013, there will be more mobile devices on Earth than people. In fact, the smartphone market is now larger than the PC market, with global figures in 2012 revealing smartphones outsold PCs for the first year ever.
Microsoft even predicts that mobile Internet use will surpass desktop use in 2014. That doesn’t mean the humble PC is dead, but it does mean the PC’s smaller screened cousin is finally securing its place in our hands, and hearts.
For developers and designers, that means it’s time to have a good think about responsive design and mobile-first builds, especially as mobile eCommerce starts to make an impact on the bottom line.
The good news is mobile and responsive web design is no longer solely the domain of big agencies and talented start ups. With quality, adaptive mobile themes becoming more available, and more affordable, designing a first class mobile eCommerce site is but a swipe away.
To ignite the spark, we’ve searched the web for 6 awesome mobile experiences, then turned toThemeForest for ideas on how you can make your next eCommerce project mobile-ready.
In their own words, NIKEiD was introduced as the world’s best online customization tool allowing the likes of you and me to create, and buy our very own pair of Nikes. In 2013 the interactive product builder went mobile, allowing customers to swipe and tap their designs into life like no other. The responsive design earned NIKEiD a Webby Award in the Shopping – Handheld Devices category, and it’s not hard to see why.
While product customization is a pretty big deal in mobile site design, ThemeForest’sNeighborhood Theme meets a lot of the brief. Neighborhood is super responsive, retina ready, and built on the 1170px Twitter Bootstrap framework. Importantly, Neighborhood’s layout is fully responsive, sizing down to mobile portrait with ease. And like NIKEiD’s interactive masterpiece, Neighborhood is also touch optimized for touchscreen devices, and the sliders all incorporate swipe functionality to enable smart UX on mobile.
In 2013, catching a regular taxi became just about the lamest thing an upwardly mobile individual could do. It began in 2010 with San Francisco’s Uber, which introduced the concept of community powered cabs through its sophisticated looking, yet easy to use geolocation-centric app. Today the ‘on-demand transportation service’ enables users to request rides via their mobile in more than 50 global markets. Drastically different from booking a regular ol’ cab, Uber actually makes the booking, and payment process fun.
If like Uber, your mobile eCommerce site relies on accurate location-based search results or activity, then ThemeForest’s responsive GeoMetry HTML Theme will kick start your build. Developed for geolocation sites and powered by Google Maps, GeoMetry connects your content with the location of the user. It’s perfect as a directory of attractions and services, and offers all important social recommendation functionality.
In a town full of online hotel booking services, HotelTonight is undoubtedly the cool kid on the block. Skipping desktop to jump straight into bed with iPhone, iPad and Android devices, HotelTonight connects users with discounted last-minute hotels in the US and Europe and boasts over six million downloads. Each hotel is curated by the company, and tagged with the type of experience you’re likely to have there: Luxe, Hip or Basic. Results are also personalized by the user. Plus, the app looks damn good. Definitely our pick for Christmas hotel bookings.
If you’re selling hotel rooms, like Hotel Tonight, you’re going to want a site that works just as well, if not better on mobile. That’s because mobile hotel bookings are dramatically on the up with Google predicting travel bookings made through mobiles will amount to about $25 billion by 2014 in the US alone. ThemeForest’s Book Your Travel WordPress Theme is a fully responsive theme ideal for booking portals, travel agencies, hotels and the like. Like Hotels Tonight, its dynamic filtering system allows customers to easily filter rooms by parameter, such as price, stars, rating, date, destination and accommodation type.
4. The Outnet
The Outnet is a chic eCommerce site from the NET-A-PORTER group that offers luxury labels at steep discounts. If you’re already a devotee, you’ll no doubt love their perfectly mobile optimized buying experience, continuously revamped to offer even more small device UX perks. Then there’s the popular Outnet StyleCred app that lets users create and share looks and be rewards with store credit. Mobile is a definite focus for the brand, which in 2012 saw 25% of sales from mobile, and 20% from iPad.
Today, building a successful online store means making a sale possible anywhere, anytime, and on any device. Responsive design is critical, which is why we like ThemeForest’s La Boutique Responsive eCommerce Template so much. This sleek, Bootstrapped crafted template offers plenty of exciting user interface elements and is fully responsive, with five breakpoints catering to tablet and mobile. It also features a mobile-friendly responsive MegaMenu with video, images, maps, form, and multi-level navigation all within reach.
If one publisher has managed to capture today’s cultural zeitgeist, it’s Monocle. The much-loved magazine is equally adored for its iOS, Android and Windows apps. Monocle 24 offers fans an around-the-clock audio service with its complete travel guide to the best business cities and resorts around the globe, plus access to Monocolumn, a daily bulletin of news, opinion and current affairs. The app’s not free, but in our opinion it’s money well spent.
If, like Monocle, your magazine strives to be both achingly cool and totally at home on mobile, then ThemeForest’s SimpleMag Theme will do the job nicely. Featuring a responsive, minimalistic design, variable width image carousels plus off-canvas nav and sidebar, SimpleMag is a popular ThemeForest choice that will bring your publication to life with ease.
Location-based apps are busily charting our interests with a never-ending batch of niche launches. Taking a leaf out of the Foursquare book, apps such as Forkly, Foodspotting and Nosh has arrived to tantalized our taste buds with a different take on socially led restaurant recommendations. These guys focus on the dish itself, with tempting visual results. The leader in the pack appears to beFoodspotting. Served up to foodies since 2010, it’s the oldest of the bunch, boasts the biggest community and was named one of Time Magazine’s 50 Best Apps of 2012.
If, like Foodspotting, beautiful food porn is key to engaging your audience, then ThemeForest’sKoyoRest – Responsive Retina Template will certainly get the juices flowing. Created especially with restaurants in mind, Koyo gives an enticing, visually rich overhaul to typical copy-heavy restaurant site designs. It’s also fully responsive and offers a one page design – perfect for mobile. Which is important when you consider that in the US, mobile restaurant searches had a conversion rate of 90%, with 64% converting within the hour, according to a 2012 study by xAd and Telmetrics.
Enjoy this article? Here’s some more interesting reading. UK based online fashion store Fallen Hero recently launched a new responsive website and has experienced a 143% rise in revenue on tablets alone. Read the full story here: Fallen Hero’s responsive website shows improved traffic and conversions.
Did we miss your favourite mobile eCommerce site? Tell us about it in the comments.
Header image credit: baranq.