Imagine that your best friend has just sent you a message: I found this great new line of cosmetics! Check it out! You open the link, and at first glance, you can tell that your friend is right. That peacock-blue eyeshadow is just what you’ve been looking for. But there’s just one problem.

The site is too small to navigate on your smartphone. You can’t get a better look at the product you want to buy without zooming, and when you do, nothing else fits on the screen. You get frustrated, and instead of buying that new eyeshadow, you give up and go back to your Facebook app.

Smartphone use is on the rise in India; in fact, India has more new smartphone users than the United States, Brazil and Russia combined. What does that mean for you? If you own an e-commerce business, you need to be able to reach people where they are most likely to find you: on their phones.

Responsive Websites are Essential for Online Retailers

A website that looks good and is easy to navigate on a laptop will not function well on a smartphone or tablet. To be easy to use on a smartphone, a website needs to have a separate layout designed specifically for smartphone screens.

Initially, web developers created separate sites for mobile phones and laptops, but they quickly discovered that this practice had a negative impact on their sites’ Google rankings. Now, web developers create multiple layouts for computer screens, mobile phones and tablets for one website. Thanks to a code called HTML5, websites are smart enough to know when users accessing them via iPhone, iPad or PC.

Responsive Layout vs. Mobile Apps

Some online retailers create mobile apps in lieu of responsive sites. A catalog app allows you to browse and purchase from a retailer – just like a paper catalog. Developing a catalog app is a good option if you sell cosmetics, flowers, clothes or jewelry.

However, a responsive site lets your customer access everything your site has to offer, so a responsive site is a better option if you want your customers to have a more comprehensive online shopping experience.

Whether to develop a mobile app or responsive site can be a tough decision. In the end, it really depends on what your goals are. An experienced web developer can help you determine which path you should take.

Are Responsive Layouts for Everyone?

The answer is yes. It really doesn’t matter what kind of a website you have. E-commerce sites, corporate sites, news sites, blogs – they need to be easy to read on a smartphone or tablet. If your site is too hard to read or navigate on a mobile phone, users will simply go elsewhere.

Responsive Sites in India

Because India is seeing such a huge explosion in smartphone use, any website that hopes to reach an Indian audience needs to be responsive. If you don’t invest some time and money into a responsive layout for your site, you could be left behind. Make a responsive layout a part of your online marketing strategy.