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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.

Carsales' dealer website initiative, however, initially focuses on verticals outside of its automotive bulwark. The 1,000 dealers currently on the Moboom-built sites represent's truck, marine equipment, heavy machinery and caravan (travel trailer) verticals. Other verticals, including cars, may be included in the second half of 2014.

The company opted to begin the rollout in verticals where dealers had less Web experience and, therefore, may not have explored the Web as sales vehicle to any significant degree.

Moboom lets Carsales develop website templates to quickly create sites for its dealer customers. "We worked closely with Carsales to develop each of their templates," according to Jef Rice, co-founder and chief operating officer of Moboom. "It took the team about two weeks to build the website templates, a process that normally takes months when you're coding a responsive website by hand."

Upfront Works Makes Responsive Design Worthwhile
Murphy notes that organizations thinking about responsive design should consider the time factor. "One challenge, upfront, is deciding if it is right for you. Can you support it from a timeline perspective?"

Over the long haul, responsive design will save time compared with building desktop, tablet and mobile versions of websites, Murphy says - but following the steps of creating a responsive site will slow the development process down compared with just building a mobile site. For example, organizations should take the time to structure their content first before proceeding with site development, he explained.

"In the short term, you will work harder to get there," Murphy says.

Barlow, meanwhile, suggests that providing dealers with responsive websites represents a step toward the future, noting that dealers haven't been specifically asking for responsive technology. He says 57 percent of the users hitting the flagship Carsales automotive website comes from mobile devices, with traffic to the company's other sites probably trending in that direction as well.

The goal with the responsive sites is to put dealers' products and inventory in front of potential buyers, "no matter what the medium," Barlow says.

The responsive sites will let dealers grow with an expanding mobile user population, he adds. "If we had given these dealers that weren't Internet savvy just static websites, we knew we would never be able to take them on a journey."

Moving Content, Driving Sales
Moboom imports dealer content, which is generated directly by Carsales, using a mass-deployment content management method.

Carsales sends dealer data to an XML feed, which Moboom imports on a particular schedule. The feed is a text file that contains all the details of dealer inventory, including product name, description and image links. Once content is imported, it's immediately reflected in the individually generated responsive dealer websites, according to Moboom. The company said its content system is built to accommodate any data structure, in any format, including JSON, CSV, XML and RSS.


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