Latency is Having a Huge Negative Impact on eCommerce Companies

Miguel Fersen Iberia & LATAM Regional Manager @ GlobalDots
5 Min read

Latency is an eCommerce killer. Studies throughout the last decade have proven that the longer your site visitor waits, the less likely they’ll convert, and the less they’ll appreciate your brand. Rapid site delivery — especially when it comes to dynamic content — is now a necessity for global-minded eCommerce companies.

Speed is Key

The online experience has developed drastically in the last decade. A decade ago, eCommerce had just started to implement social shopping techniques, and cutting-edge shareable wishlists swelled eCommerce adoption. However, Amazon was looking ahead. They’d found the key piece of the eCommerce puzzle, and were focusing on it exclusively: speed.

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Planning same-day delivery was ambitious, but Amazon knew that high-speed logistics were just as important for their web traffic. Their 2012 study showed that, for every 100 milliseconds of latency, they lost 1% in sales. Their findings were swiftly supported by Google, who found that a half-second increase in page generation time dropped traffic by 20%.

In 2012, eCommerce accounted for less than a tenth of all retail purchases, but nowadays, the stakes are even higher as they make up over a quarter. These purchases are conducted through dozens of devices, browsers, and applications, and latency must be reduced throughout each and every one. Mobile eCommerce is particularly powerful; the convenience and adaptability of mobile shopping is second to none, and consumer habits reflect this. 

As dangerous as latency is, it also represents an incredibly potent method to pull ahead of your competition. Deloitte’s recent research analyzed mobile site data from 37 brands throughout the US and Europe. They found that decreasing loading time by 0.1 seconds boosted conversion rates by almost 10%.

Not only were these sites now more competitive and ranking higher in search engine results, but that improvement also saw an 8% increase in consumer spending: if your eCommerce site pulls in $100k, that single 0.1s improvement would create $8k of daily revenue.

Accelerating a site is the issue that bloomed into today’s billion-dollar content delivery network (CDN) market. However, there is still a hidden force impeding your latency-busting progress.

The Importance of Personalization

If speed is one pillar of the customer experience, then personalization is the other. Customers are used to seeing their name in the subject line of an email: brands that don’t develop comprehensive personalization risk creating an experience that feels at worst irrelevant, and like a robocall at best. Genuine care and attention need to be taken toward your customers and their interests.

Your site’s responsive experiences can pull from third-party recommendation engines, offering behavior-based purchase suggestions. Real-time weather information can reprioritize product listings. Draw on local breaking news; the latest stock market fluctuations; even the results of your customer’s favorite sports team. This pays off, too, as 91% of consumers are more likely to shop with brands that tailor recommendations to their own interests.

This adaptability is reflected in page items such as product descriptions, blog posts, text, pictures, animations, video or audio. Dynamic pricing tools can adjust prices based on your inventory, strengthening profit margins by upselling products and shifting overstocked wares. 

Battling over your customer purchase funnel are the two forces of customer experience: dynamic content and latency. This is how you fell into this trap — and how personalization and speed can now be coordinated for the pinnacle of customer experience.

CDNs Are Fantastic at Static Acceleration, but There’s More to Consider

The last decade of eCommerce has seen constant tradeoffs, between speed and personalization. This is thanks to an overreliance on established site acceleration methods – the CDN.

The greatest leaps in site acceleration are achieved by placing the server close to the end-user. Thanks to the infrastructure put in place by CDNs, the end-user’s site request is spared the round trip of hundreds of thousands of miles; now, it can retrieve your site’s information from a server in the same country. 

This CDN server — also known as a cache — retrieves the relevant information from your core server ahead of time, then stores it for local users. This works fantastically for files that are the same across every user, such as core site items that do not change, to be distributed to every user. Your site’s layout, alongside HTML and image files, are all examples of this static content. Think of these files as a newspaper: once an issue is published, it features the same articles and pictures for anyone who grabs a copy, regardless of what events transpire throughout the day.

Dynamic content operates a little differently. The phrase ‘dynamic content’ refers to strings of server-side code that reads an event — such as a customer abandoning their basket — then creates a HTML file in response. This responsive action is then processed by their browser, and the user sees a message saying ‘hey! You forgot something!’. The adaptiveness of this dynamic code typically necessitated that it sits in your origin server.

Growing eCommerce brands that have attempted to accelerate a dynamic site through a CDN provider may have been unsatisfied with the progress they saw. CDNs are fantastic at static acceleration, but aren’t the right tool for dynamic pieces of code, as large quantities of data still need to remain flowing between your core server and your end-user. 

The personalization boosting your conversion rates and analytical capabilities could, in fact, be the very thing dragging down your loading times. Traditional CDN caches were unable to cache this dynamic content, and it was once thought that this responsive code was simply uncacheable. 

Caching the Uncacheable

Today’s available solutions offer an ensemble of dynamic content acceleration methods. Behavioral analysis is an invaluable component to dynamic acceleration, increasing delivery time by 10x. By measuring and predicting user behavior, dynamic content can be pre-assembled and ready to send even before the user manually requests it.

Don’t let dynamic content drag your site down. Learn how to truly eliminate latency, while still providing the personalized experience your customers demand. Trusted by Lufthansa, Payoneer, Home24, and more, at GlobalDots we assure your site performance is as cutting-edge as your brand by connecting you with the most innovative solutions on the market.

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