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How responsive website design helps boost revenue

John Moore | March 12, 2014, Australia's top online automotive classified site, is helping its independent dealers make the switch to sites built with responsive design in mind. Revenue is up, the company says, in part because of increased traffic from mobile devices. Ltd. runs a network of online classified websites in Australia, attracting millions of consumers each month to listings for autos, motorcycles and other modes of transport. The company, based in Richmond, Victoria, also helps dealers set up websites to display their inventory.

Carsales had its own proprietary platform for building those sites, but the technology limited the company's capability to quickly roll out and update dealer websites en masse. In addition, Carsales wanted to provide its dealers with sites built on the principles of responsive design. That wasn't possible, however, with its site-building platform.

Carsales went looking for a new platform. "Our two main criteria were time to market and being able to offer these dealers a responsive website that was ... affordable," says Paul Barlow, group strategy director at Carsales.

The responsive design approach aims to create websites that adjust to the particulars of a user's device - screen size, for example - and provide content best-suited for that device. As more users access websites from a still-evolving set of mobile devices, responsive design can save developers the hassle of creating separate websites optimized for certain classes of devices.

Mike Murphy, senior design director of user experience at GkF, a research company, says responsive design is gaining momentum. "Even a year ago, responsive was the exception, but now it is becoming the rule," he says. "People are understanding what it means and they are learning the benefits of it. It gives you something more sustainable than building three or four different versions of your face to the world."

Barlow says his company considered a range of options, including a number of free source offerings and the possibility of building its own upgraded solution. The in-house approach has been typical of Carsales, he says: "We have a history of wanting to do everything ourselves."

As the company grew, though, this option became less attractive. Carsales now weighs the speed it needs to field a solution against the recurring cost of obtaining that solution from a partner. In the case of the site development platform, Carsales ventured outside its walls, selecting Moboom's website platform and content management system to drive the dealer sites.

The companies began working together in March 2013. Today, 1,000 dealers - about a quarter of Carsales' dealer population - now use Moboom-built sites. The transition to Moboom has made the website deployment process two to three times faster and prepared dealers for the rise in mobile traffic. The sites also let Carsales offer a value-added product to boost revenue.

Rolling Out Sites Where Opportunity's Highest
Carsales generated $215 million AUD (about $194 million USD) for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2013, on revenue growth of 17 percent. Barlow says the company is the leading online classified business in Australia in verticals including autos. In a June 2012 study, 80 percent of consumers browsing auto classifieds in Australia did so on a Carsales-owned site.


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