The world of web design has progressed much the same way that teenagers do when they get their first school lockers. In the beginning, everybody is so thrilled to have a space all their own that they go overboard with the decorating. The entire inside of the locker is covered in bling. As time goes on, however, the focus turns from how well (or not) someone has outfitted the locker with the functionality of the locker itself. Bling gets exchanged for shelves and space for hanging coats, storing supplies and room for a lunch and, during inclement weather, rain boots, umbrellas, etc.

Web design–especially for eCommerce–has progressed at the same clip. When people first got into eCommerce, design was all about how much sparkle you could smash into a page. Blinkies and stickers and brightly colored type were everywhere. As web has become more mobile, however, the focus has shifted to function. When you only have a few inches of space to use at a time, you care more about making sure the mobile user can buy quickly and impulsively. You care more about how fast the site runs, how smooth the navigation and scroll are, and how much attention is given to the product.

A good example of this is the responsive website design Hilton Head built for Menaj (a men’s skincare line). Instead of opting for lots of bandwidth-eating graphics and photos, the designers opted for more text and usable buttons. The key to the design’s success, says Kevin of Vertcy, is that it the responsive design also plays to people’s hesitance to use their phones as shopping tools:

“…some users are too afraid or clumsy to make a purchase on their phone. They will use the mobile site to learn more and go buy when they are home or on another, larger device. To help these users complete purchases we’ve enabled:

  • Cross-Device Retargeting Methods
  • Multiple Checkout Methods (people do trust PayPal)
  • Keep checkout pages simple with less steps”

Cross-Device Retargeting isn’t just a fancy-sounding buzzword. It refers to a very specific technique that eCommerce sellers must adopt if they hope to turn their startups into successful enterprises.

Cross-Device Retargeting is exactly what it sounds like. It is a marketing technique that uses web development tools to make sure that a shopper can browse and shop using the same cart across multiple devices.

This is not the same as “remarketing.” Remarketing is a technique in which eCommerce professionals use email targeting and personalized marketing to reach out to shoppers who might have abandoned their carts or to bring shoppers who have made purchases in the past to come back and buy again. In addition to email marketing, this is typically done by placing cookies on a site user’s browser so that they will be served ads based on their shopping habits (it’s how Facebook can serve up ads based on what you look at on Amazon or search for on Google).

With remarketing, sellers are stuck with a single browser’s history. The site user has to shop at the site for the exact same products on each device he or she uses for remarketing to be useful. With cross-device targeting, the marketing can be done to the user regardless of whether they’re using a mobile device or desktop browser.

It seems almost magical but it’s code depends on the likelihood of a user being logged into Google (or Facebook) on multiple devices simultaneously. And, if you’re honest with yourself, this is something you’re likely doing right now. Sites like Google are “log-in and forget about it” sites. Take advantage of that!

In terms of web design, it is important to make sure your tracking codes are composed and installed correctly so that, in addition to displaying properly, you can track your site users too.

The longer we have the internet the more user-targeted sites and eCommerce sellers need to be. The better you target the humans shopping on your site, the bigger your profits will be!