Post-Holiday Tips to Optimize Your Website's Performance
This holiday season retailers relied heavily on leveraging their web presences in order to maximize critical but fleeting revenue opportunities and compensate for sluggish in-store sales. The stakes were high, and retailers were forced to deliver fast, high-quality web experiences in order to drive revenues, brand integrity, and customer acquisition, retention and satisfaction. Successful retailers delivered superior web experiences for their most important shoppers, especially during the peak traffic loads commonly experienced during the holidays.
But as websites and e-commerce applications have grown more complex, ensuring strong web performance has become more challenging. Today, most e-commerce platforms are rich, composite applications incorporating numerous third-party services and content. An online shopping application, for example, may include product search, shopping cart, product images, user reviews and other functionalities, many of which are provided by external parties.
Websites and other shopping applications have also been forced to traverse a complex path from the data center through major and local internet service providers (ISPs) and content delivery networks before ultimately assembling in shoppers’ ever-expanding choice of mobile devices and web browsers.
This is the era of the “web application delivery chain,” and poor performance at any step can trip up your shoppers’ experiences and potentially push them to a competitor’s site and mailing list. The harsh reality is that shoppers don’t care about what’s causing your poor performance, whether it’s a network provider bottleneck, a third-party content problem or a meddlesome browser glitch. They'll simply lay the blame squarely at your door. Like it or not, retailers are responsible for managing the performance of all the elements comprising the web application delivery chain.
As if this overall technical complexity weren’t enough, each year shoppers expect more from their online experiences. A recent Forrester Consulting study determined two seconds (down from four seconds just three years ago) is the new threshold shoppers are willing to wait for a web page to load before they grow impatient, abandon their shopping carts and drift to a competitor’s site.