When milliseconds are the difference between success and failure, retailers cannot afford to ignore their digital performance. Retail is at the forefront of a massively disruptive digital transformation.
We've entered the era of “retail everywhere,” with hyperconnected, 24/7, omnichannel digital consumers who have high expectations for their online experiences. They want retailers to know them, serve them, delight them and not waste their time.
The Right Stuff
Digital performance has never mattered more than it does today. With the competition just one click away, customer experience is the ultimate competitive differentiator. Today’s retailers are expected to provide a seamless experience across web, mobile, social and email. They must adopt an agile approach to doing business, from sourcing, merchandising, user feedback and digital payments to shipping and post-transaction support.
However, behind every interaction between consumers and online retailers is a vast network of websites, mobile apps, third-party service providers, routers, databases, servers and related technologies. Complexity across this vast network of digital infrastructure is a key barrier to customers having great experiences.
Therefore, retailers need real-time, end-to-end performance visibility and insights, including website traffic, and e-commerce and IT performance metrics in order to pinpoint and remediate performance issues by campaign, product, channel, device, geography, demographics and third-party services.
Given that 80 percent to 90 percent of a web page’s response time occurs at the front end, the ability to correlate front-end and back-end digital performance data is paramount to achieving peak online retail performance.
$8.8 Million Per Millisecond
Yet many online retailers haven’t figured out the empirical relationship between customer experience and digital performance. Here's one stark example: Amazon.com has performed tests showing that for every 100-millisecond improvement, its sales increased by 1 percent. With $88 billion in online sales in 2015, that translates to $8.8 million of increased sales per millisecond.
The positive correlation between digital performance, customer experience and revenue is indisputable.
E-tailers must monitor and quantify customer experiences in real time, on different devices, in different geographies, and across both digital and analog channels to meet customers’ dynamic preferences. The ability to monitor and gain visibility into omnichannel customer behavior, engagement and conversion is a critical requirement to their success.
The Big Deal With Big Data
The influx of big data, advances in processing power and data science are now enabling e-tailers to make more informed decisions, predict customer demand and even prevent problems from occurring. By leveraging analytics and aligning this with customer experience, IT performance and business outcomes, leading e-tailers are able to deliver hyperpersonalization, optimizing the customer journey as well as monetization in real time and at scale.
With the help of new digital performance management technologies, retailers can truly deliver frictionless e-commerce customer experiences. And to remain relevant, they must.
Ann Ruckstuhl is the chief marketing officer of SOASTA, a provider of load testing and performance monitoring solutions.