Is your site feeling a little sluggish? Are you experiencing higher bounce rates than you’re comfortable with? Do you feel like your eCommerce platform isn’t working the way it should?
If so, you’re not alone. These are common problems experienced by businesses that bootstrap eCommerce solutions as they grow. Systems need to be built on one another, and as the network grows, it becomes slow, costly, and hard to maintain.
You can’t afford to let poor website performance detract from your customer experience. Page load speeds are an essential part of your UX, but unfortunately, this is one of the first elements to decline as you scale your eCommerce platform.
To make matters worse, many of your newer competitors are already one step ahead. They were able to build their online stores on newer platforms that don’t suffer from the same limitations of piecemeal eCommerce solutions. Modern eCommerce platforms offer far more in the way of functionality compared to those available even just a few years ago.
These efficiencies can make or break your business. Slow loading is one thing, but what happens when your outdated website architecture crashes and brings your site down? When Amazon went down in 2013, the company lost a staggering $66,240 per minute.
That’s an extreme example, but the risks are there for any business. If you want to avoid downtime and keep your eCommerce performance strong, you’ll need to undergo some performance tuning across each aspect of your platform.
Consider this one of the perennial rules of eCommerce: Your pages need to load quickly. The research on this is well-established; even a one second delay can decrease your company’s conversion rate by 3.5 percent. Don’t neglect this step! All the work you’ve done on your web design and marketing will be meaningless if your visitors leave before your page loads.
Where to start:
If you haven’t already, implement caching on your website. This is a quick and simple way to give your page load speed a boost and keep more visitors on your page.
Caching involves storing data in temporary locations (such as the browser or the server) to provide quick access when requests are made. For your customer experience, this means that any returning visitors will experience faster page load times, as their connection won’t need to make a fresh query to the server.
This simple change can produce big benefits for your returning visitors: Cached pages load nearly twice as fast as initial connections.
Where to start:
Apps are an essential part of building a functional eCommerce experience, but in terms of performance optimizations, there’s certainly too much of a good thing. We’ve seen websites that have upwards of 30 different applications installed on some page or pages on their site.
Look at every app you have installed and clean house. What does each application bring my site? What specific function does each app serve? Every application you use stretches your bandwidth—and budget—so if you want to speed up your eCommerce experience, you should prune the unessential options and stick to the core functions that drive value for your company.
Where to start:
Consider that you should be using a single eCommerce platform to coordinate all eCommerce data and order management across multiple channels (web, retail POS, mobile and more), you need to ensure a seamless performance experience.
Did you know that by the end of 2019, it’s predicted that mobile shopping will encompass 67.2 percent of total eCommerce sales?
In other words, your mobile browsing experience is becoming one of the most important aspects of your UX. There’s a good chance that a majority of your visitors are browsing your site on their devices, so if you haven’t optimized your store with quick and responsive design specifically for mobile users, you may be missing out on potential sales.
Keep in mind that any page speed you gain for desktop, is more important on mobile where the impact felt would be greater.
If you’re struggling to get a handle on your website performance, why not work with a provider who can keep an eye on it for you? Cloud-based monitoring solutions are a great way to get more information about your web performance. These providers offer tools such as load testing, site analysis, and real-time alerts to make you aware of how your site is doing.
If you’re reluctant to invest in a performance monitoring tool for your web team (you shouldn’t be), you can still get a lot of information using the built-in developer tools included in your web browser. Using those built-in (read: Free) tools to get a handle on the scope of any issues on your site, get them fixed, then invest in monitoring services to ensure they won’t happen again.
Improving your eCommerce performance isn’t hard—but it does take work.
Every aspect of your platform, from your website configurations to your eCommerce platform to the channels you’re addressing need to be quick and efficient. These simple steps are the best way to speed up your page and guarantee you don’t lose your customers before they arrive.