People often like to assess the success or failure of things purely on numbers. It’s easy to quantify, it’s easier to make decisions, it’s easier to make a payment for something if you can see its value. We all see the world like this, fooling ourselves in some cases, thinking price equates to quality when in fact we are paying for a label or saving on a deal instead we’re just paying the same price for a low quality item. Judging the world in numbers can seem easier or more reliable but this is not always the best way to gauge something.
Measuring design by this method has always been problematic for me. Being a designer I feel that making a judgement on the fiscal success or merit of something based on “is the new design better?” is a terrible way to judge design. There are so many factors that you could argue have more impact on the success of a project. The content or the actual offer for example. Who was it intended for? Did the people who it was meant for receive it when they should have. By choosing to measure the success of something, on something as immeasurable as design is futile.
By choosing to measure the success of something, on something as immeasurable as design is futile.
Please bear with me through this rambling analogy. Recently a new cinema opened near where I live. The Olympic studios. I love it. They have invested time and effort into improving every part of cinema experience. They have nicer popcorn at half the price, a good selection of proper drinks, a gorgeous interior, imported luxury seats from Norway, smaller cinemas, better sound, the best screens. I could go on. Unfortunately for Olympic studios I haven’t started to see more films while I’m sure that is their intention. So is it a failure? I don’t think so. Although I probably did watch more films when it first opened, I don’t go to the cinema more often than I used to. Whether I go to the cinema or not is still dependent on what films are showing. So what has changed? Now I wouldn’t dream of ever going to another cinema. My taste in films has remained the same the content or ‘offer’ still drives my decision but what has changed is my shopping preference.
Responsive email design is much the same. I think overall opens and clicks will largely remain the same if wrongly compared with their static counterparts. Responsive design is a technique of coding an email to provide a better email experience for the user. It’s a longer game, it’s a bigger investment deciding to design emails responsively. You’re investing in your users, you’re ensuring their shopping experience is easy and effortless. You’re making things work the way they expect things to. You are not going to magically improve all your campaign results because the content, product and offer are the things that largely influence the purchasing decision, have remained the same.
You’re investing in your users, you’re ensuring their shopping experience is easy and effortless.
Making emails nicer and better to use is ensuring that when people do decide to make that purchase decision they do it from your store, and they have chosen your store because your store was so easy to access from the email that they just received on their phone. Your store is the one that is easy to get to, easy to access and easy to click on. Your responsive email was the one that had the same content on the phone and the desktop.
So perhaps measuring responsive email design in a different way is a better approach to gauging its merit. Perhaps looking at increased return customers, or list retention or list growth is a more accurate way of measuring the impact of improving the email experience. Businesses should go responsive because they care about their users. They care about the shopping experience and see the value in ensuring that the quality of the experience can guide future purchasing decisions.