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The Role of Responsive Design in Shopify Store Performance

a smart phone, a laptop, and a tablet with ecommerce showing on the screens

In the world of modern web browsing, you have probably heard of one recurring term – responsive design. It’s not just a buzz phrase but something incredibly important for modern website design and ecommerce store creation.

In this guide, I explain the purpose of responsive design and show why it’s imperative for Shopify store performance and website accessibility in general.

What is Responsive Design?

The true meaning behind the phrase responsive design relates to how a website responds to the type and size of the screen it’s being viewed on. However, generically, we look at responsive design as a way to make sure your website displays properly and in the best way on any device, whether that’s a desktop computer, laptop, smartphone, or tablet.

Essentially, the website layout and features are displayed one way for one device, and in a different way for another device, so the user always gets the best possible browsing experience.

For example, you will notice that when a responsive site loads on your smartphone, the layout is usually vertical with no horizontal scrolling. Also, instead of a horizontal text menu, there is usually a menu icon that expands out into a side menu.

Why Does Responsive Design Matter for Your Shopify Store?

So, we’ve established the purpose of responsive design but we don’t know why responsive design is important for Shopify. There are several benefits including the actual loading times, but also performance in terms of user experience and traffic.

Google Likes Mobile-Friendly Sites

Mobile responsiveness has been mentioned by Google developers and it is known to be a factor for website ranking. In short, you want your Shopify store to have a responsive design as part of your SEO campaign. It’s not the largest factor by any means, but if you want flawless SEO it’s an important consideration.

Google Also Likes Fast Loading Sites

Ecommerce stores that don’t have a responsive site design often suffer from slow loading times and this has a two-fold impact. Firstly, your customers get annoyed and are more likely to abandon their shopping cart or go to a competitor.

Secondly, Google prefers sites with fast loading times so this provides an additional incentive for your SEO strategies.

Customers enjoy a Great Shopping Experience Regardless of Their Device

From a user perspective, utilizing Shopify responsive design provides a more pleasurable and simpler shopping experience. I hate it if I have to scroll vertically on a website on my smartphone or if all the information isn’t visible – it makes the site difficult and cumbersome to use.

You want your customers to be able to use your site quickly and get to the products they want with ease as this should ultimately translate to increased website traffic and sales.

It Saves Time and Effort Instead of Creating an Entirely Separate Store

a phone and tablet sitting on top of a laptopIf you do not create a responsive Shopify store that can automatically switch between mobile and desktop displays, the alternative is creating two separate stores – one for desktop browsers, and one for mobile devices.

This indeed was done in the past but it’s incredibly inefficient. Imagine the time, resources, and cost it would take to build two entirely different stores. Instead, you must optimize your Shopify store so that it works on any display seamlessly.

Tips for Responsive Design in Your Shopify Store

As you can see, responsive design in Shopify store performance is imperative, but how can you achieve this? Below I have listed some simple tips for responsive website design.

Choose the Right Theme

Quality e-commerce website design on Shopify starts with your theme selection. Shopify themes are the template and the underlying code and structure of your site. You should only ever pick a theme that has a built-in responsive design and can shift seamlessly between desktop and mobile formats. Indeed, Shopify has a range of responsive themes in its template store.

Utilize Third-Party Tools to Check Loading Speeds

Aside from the layout and page elements, responsive design also relates to page loading speeds. Ideally, there should be no difference in loading times between the desktop and mobile versions of your store. 

Luckily, there is an array of third-party tools such as Google PageSpeed Insights that test page loading speeds and give you important feedback on areas you can improve such as code and image optimization.

Optimize Images

Images are one of the major areas ecommerce stores fail and they have a huge impact on page loading speeds and responsive design. 

Firstly, your images have to be the right size and in most instances, larger images that can be artificially shrunken are preferable. For example, if you save images in a small resolution suitable for smartphone viewing when they are resized by the browser to fit on a desktop computer they will be pixelated.

Secondly, image file size is important and it’s a great idea to use optimization tools that compress images so that they have a small file size without compromising quality.

Make Your Shopify Store Responsive and Improve Traffic Today

Responsive design is important for any website but it’s especially important for an ecommerce store developed on platforms like Shopify. Due to the wide range of different devices and screen sizes people use to browse the web and online stores today, you must make sure your website is displayed smoothly and everyone can use it in the same way.

Article by:

Joshua George is the founder of ClickSlice, an SEO Agency based in London, UK.

He has eight years of experience as an SEO Consultant and was recently hired by the UK government for SEO training. Joshua also owns the best-selling SEO course on Udemy, and has taught SEO to over 100,000 students.

His work has been featured in Forbes, Entrepreneur, AgencyAnalytics, Wix and lots more other reputable publications.