Caution: Slow Sites Negatively Impact Brand Loyalty, SEO Rankings
E-commerce experiences on mobile, desktops and browsers are becoming more innovative and engaging by the day. Retailers have transitioned from delivering simple pages with a few static images to brand pages with 360-degree spinning videos that highlight product nuances. Businesses are also testing virtual try-on tools, personalizing content, presenting shoppable videos for live streams, etc., all of which often put pressure on back-end systems.
Companies must exercise caution. Overwhelming a digital platform — particularly a legacy one that wasn’t built to accommodate modern capabilities — can slow down web experiences, downloads and visitor engagement. Worse yet, sluggish pages degrade a brand’s search engine optimization rankings, causing the website to be buried well beyond page two during online searches.
Slow Sites Punished in Rankings
Given Google’s theory that slow pages hurt the user experience and bloat operating costs, site speed is a significant factor for Google search rankings. Plus, consumers tend to click away from pages that take forever to download. As web page loading time increases, bounce rates and conversion rates are negatively impacted, leading to twin penalties for businesses. No wonder that sites that lag demonstrate higher bounce rates and higher rates of cart abandonment.
From a technical perspective, digital experiences slow down for several reasons:
- content delivery through some other means than a content delivery network (CDN);
- uncompressed images and videos;
- poorly cached or stored website files; or
- web pages that do not lazy-load content — i.e., not displaying images or videos until visitors scroll to them, saving time and resources.
Complicating the scenario are experiences powered by advanced commerce tools as retailers add personalization features, product recommendations, immersive experiences, dynamic loyalty programs and more.
Fast Sites Need New Tech
A monolithic platform is an all-in-one, behind-the-scenes, self-contained suite of technology for websites, causing companies to be locked into one solution provider. Delivering experiences from a monolithic architecture not only slows performance, but also prevents brands and retailers from adding modern, futuristic channels.
In contrast, a composable architecture is open to any best-of-breed, headless technology for creating experiences. To try out 360-degree-video spin sets on their site, for example, retailers can plug in any composable solution they prefer.
Digital experience composition platforms (DXCPs), aka MACH-driven platforms, can plug and play composable tools, including those that compress and optimize images and videos, ensuring that the experiences get served at optimal speed. Since each tool works individually, the platform is never swamped.
Modern Sites Make Consumers Happy
As their e-commerce experiences evolve, brands and retailers have a choice to make. Running fast websites might require a more composable upgrade. Performant pages give rise to happier and more loyal customers, along with a site that’s not dinged in search rankings.
Darren Guarnaccia is president at Uniform, a digital experience composition platform (DXCP) on which developers and marketers can control their digital experience stack.
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Darren Guarnaccia is president of Uniform, a digital experience composition platform (DXCP) on which developers and marketers can control their digital-experience stack. As a leader with deep expertise in blending best-in-class product-marketing and product-management strategies to overcome business challenges, differentiate products, and drive exponential growth, Darren oversees marketing, product strategy, and enablement at Uniform.