A common question regarding web design and performance is which is better, a rich customer experience or a leaner website that loads faster?
This is a question eBags posed. And the path the online retailer of handbags, luggage, backpacks and travel accessories chose generated 10 percent more orders. Here's how eBags did it.
New UX Technologies: The Promise and the Problem
eBags has always been an aggressive adopter of new e-commerce technologies. In fact, it was one of the first to deploy search and navigation and A/B testing over a decade ago. “Experiment our way to success” is one of eBags’ guiding principles, and it regularly tests new technologies for every release cycle, keeping those that have a statistically significant impact on sales. This type of aggressiveness has helped propel eBags to over $150 million in annual sales.
However, as mobile traffic increased and responsive design governed its site, eBags discovered a hidden cost to rapidly introducing new technologies into its website. Customers loved the features and tools that made shopping easier, but they hated the page loading delays and errors that made shopping a challenge.
Testing confirmed this suspicion. eBags found that after three seconds, shoppers began leaving its site. Every additional second required to load the page resulted in a 20 percent drop in conversion rate. Therefore, as eBags tested new technologies, their impact on speed became an important measure for determining if a feature made the next release. It no longer made sense to deploy third-party technologies that increased conversion by 5 percent (normally an enormous benefit) if they also slowed down the experience by one second. As a result, promising new content and features littered the cutting room floor after each release.
Accelerating Innovation and a Rich UX
eBags needed a solution that would accelerate its website, and then keep it fast when it added rich content and third-party tags. The retailer had already maximized the potential of its CDN to increase performance, and needed a new approach. eBags turned to Yottaa, an e-commerce acceleration platform.
Results: 30% Faster, 10% Higher Conversion Rate
The results of the split test were more than conclusive. Yottaa delivered significant speed and conversion rate improvements when compared to the control group. The Yottaa-powered mobile site consistently loaded 30 percent faster, and this improvement resulted in 10 percent higher conversion rates.
Even more importantly, Yottaa’s front-end optimization and application sequencing capabilities allowed eBags to test dozens of new technologies without being concerned about the speed of its site. From this testing, eBags ultimately picked a handful of winning technologies that increased conversion rates even further — all while continuing to deliver a fast and error-free user experience.
eBags focus on experimentation and speed paid enormous dividends over the past year. The company experienced record traffic over the 2016 Cyber Weekend — 92 percent increase on mobile, 40 percent increase across all channels — and in April was acquired by Samsonite. This acquisition could be a great opportunity for eBags to expand its reach and innovation on a much larger scale. In the meantime, eBags continues to use the Yottaa platform to maintain the speed, availability and security of its site while it experiments its way to new successes under the Samsonite brand.
Rich Stendardo is the CEO of Yottaa, a web and mobile optimization services company.