These 3 Chromium Browsers Are Impacting Customer Experience: What Retailers Need to Know About Them
But first, why is this information important for retailers? The fact is, each Chromium browser performs differently across four key criteria, all of which are critical to providing an optimized user experience that’s consistent across browsers and devices:
- Total loading time: The time it takes for a web page to completely load.
- The domcontentloaded (DCL) event: Determines whether a page is technically ready for interaction. For example, when core elements of a page have loaded, but images and scripts are still rendering.
- Time to Interactive (TTI): Measures the moment at which the user can safely start interacting with the page. For instance, when the page has reached TTI, a user clicking on a “Watch Video” button will actually trigger a media player to fire up and play the desired video.
- Longtasks: Aptly named, these are tasks that take a long time to load, and tie up a browser’s resources as they execute. For example, if a customer clicks on a link during a long task, the browser would finish the long task first and then react to the click.
Below, we will take a look at how these metrics compare across Google Chrome (61, 67 and 73), Samsung Internet (67 and 73) and Xiaomi (61), and, most importantly, how they perform from customers’ point of view.
The Consequences of a Bad 'First Impression'
Web performance is your brand’s digital handshake — it’s true first impression. If a new visitor comes to your site and the first thing they're met with is a long page load time, that’s not a great impression. And if they’re forced to wait long enough, they're likely to leave your website altogether and won’t be quick to return.
A major factor impacting a retailer’s page load times is the web browsers their customers use. In fact, recent findings show that 20 percent of Chrome 73 browsers and Samsung 67 browsers load pages within two seconds. On the other hand, between 40 percent and 45 percent of the other four browsers take more than eight seconds to load a page.
Retailers understand the implications of a bad first impression in physical stores — like too few or unavailable customer associates, register outages, or slow inventory checkers — and its impact on customer loyalty and their bottom line. In today’s omnichannel shopping world, online and mobile experiences are no different.
The Interaction Gap
While a fast-loading page is the first step in the right direction to a great first digital impression, the page is of no use if a user cannot immediately interact with it in the way that they want to. This is where TTI and DCL measurements come into play, as both are critical to ensuring that the customer interaction experience on a mobile or web browser is efficient and consistent from start to finish.
Once again, it's important for retailers to know that these metrics also vary by the Chromium browser used. With that, results remain consistent with total loading time. The TTI and DCL yielded similar results, with Google Chrome 73s and Samsung 67s receiving the highest marks and performing significantly better than the other four browsers.
The fact is, today’s busy consumers expect to be able to browse and complete purchases on the go, whether they're searching for a new pair of running shoes on their commute to work or placing a quick online grocery order for dinner that night while rushing between meetings. DCL and TTI efficiency is critical to streamlining their ability to interact with the website and ensure a seamless browsing experience.
Optimizing for All Browser Versions
It's common for retailers to think they need to focus their efforts on the latest and greatest browser models. However, the reality is that browser upgrades are ultimately at the mercy of the user and in some cases the device itself. For example, Google Chrome 67 users are unable to upgrade to a newer version due to the limitations of their device, which explains why Samsung Internet 67 is actually significantly faster than Google Chrome 67. In theory, these should be the most comparable browsers in terms of speed because they're the same version.
What retailers must do is implement a good performance strategy that focuses on testing and loading issues — specifically, one that addresses loading problems first. An occasional glitch while a customer is using a retail website can be frustrating, but loyal customers are more likely to forgive it, especially if it's not recurring.
It’s also important for retailers to regularly test web and mobile sites on Samsung Internet in addition to Google Chrome, the Miui Browser by Xiaomi, or as many browser versions as possible. While similar, these browsers aren't the same, and although Samsung Internet has the edge in performance, it could be that Google Chrome is better at other tasks. The only way to find this out is being aware of differences in browsers and conducting continuous tests of your web performance to refine your strategy as needed.
Ari Weil is global vice president of product and industry marketing at Akamai, a leading content delivery network (CDN) services provider for media and software delivery, and cloud security solutions.
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