Speed is one of the biggest factors to eCommerce success. Today’s consumers demand rapid content delivery and are more willing to walk away than wait. Many brands have mistakenly relied on the seemingly magical powers of the traditional Content Delivery Network (CDN), but outpacing your competition requires a comprehensive approach that accelerates every component of your site.
High Latency, Low Conversion
The price of your products is more than financial. In the balance between price and demand, your customer’s time is a vitally scarce resource. Nobody is more keenly aware of this than the consumers themselves, and 90% of customers will abandon an eCommerce page if the load time exceeds 3 seconds. And not only are a shocking amount of customers deterred by latency, but 70% of those page-bouncers will never return to your website. For the customers that do remain, their experience is still greatly affected by long wait times, as every second of load time decreases their satisfaction with your brand. Learn how latency is holding you back more than you realize.
The biggest influence on these load times is the size and complexity of your site’s code. However, customer experience demands more than just rapid delivery – you need to be delivering a clean, navigable site with personalized product recommendations. In other words, not only does each page need to load rapidly, but so do interactive elements and conversion-critical personalized content.
True acceleration – across BOTH static and dynamic content, for every device – necessitates that each component within your site is as accessible as possible for your customer.
Content Delivery Networks (CDNs): A Step in the Right Direction
The first anti-latency milestone is a CDN. Their globally-distributed servers represent your site’s first steps towards the customer. Whereas a typical site is hosted on a core server – meaning every request must make the tens-of-thousands-of-miles round trip – a CDN provides local copies of your site. These caches are hosted in the same country or continent as your end users, greatly reducing the data’s travel distance.
CDNs alone can drive down loading times considerably – they can also reduce your cloud expenses, as that traffic is no longer exclusively handled by your origin server. This is one way we helped an eCommerce group cut their cloud bill by $1.4 million per annum.
Yet as fantastic and powerful as CDNs are, they only accelerate half of your site’s content. Caches work by replicating the exact same files for every user that accesses your site; uncacheable dynamic content is still left trekking to and from your core server, every time the user demands a payment page, or the number of items in stock. The silver lining is that CDNs alone can drive incredible reductions in latency.
The New Speed Frontier: Dynamic Content
Alongside speed, personalization is a major component to your conversion rates. Personalized product recommendations are now an expectation, and dynamic content is responsible for large swathes of the eCommerce process, from payment pages to automated pricing alterations.
Dynamic web pages are not stored as cacheable HTML files. Instead, dynamic scripts sit at the core server. When an event occurs – such as a user logging in – this script generates an HTML file which is sent to the web browser, and a message pops up welcoming the user back. Because dynamic content is generated server-side, it was once thought to be uncacheable.
However, event-triggered dynamic code can be streamlined in the same way static is. The generating script is simply placed within the CDN cache, allowing the HTML files to be generated and delivered locally. Some types of dynamic content are thus successfully “cached”.
Calling event-triggered code ‘dynamic’ is somewhat controversial, however, as it only applies to a small amount of all dynamic code. Accelerated event response is great, but it cannot respond to a user’s location, or news headlines, or your own changing inventory. This represents the final frontier of acceleration, as truly dynamic content – fully responsive and reactive – must still be accelerated.
The answer to dynamic acceleration lies in innovative solutions that predict and pre-assemble the responsive code. First, an intimate understanding of your site and application is necessary. The solution sits adjacent to your site, monitoring how your customers flow between API gateways and media content.
Once the solution understands the paths that your customers take, it then recognizes when a customer is about to take an action that relies on dynamic content. Following this recognition state, only the relevant dynamic code is triggered. The responsive HTML is then produced at your core server and shipped to the cache before the user has even manually requested it.
Once the user finally does demand it, they no longer have to wait for the code to process and generate those HTML files. Instead, they simply wait milliseconds for the HTML file to be transferred. This creates an ultra-fast shopping experience regardless of network quality, accelerating dynamic content as efficiently as CDNs handle static.
The Results of Full Optimization
Reducing load times pays off significantly, and we saw the results with UK-based fashion company END Clothing, who experienced a 45% growth in turnover with the help of our optimization solutions.
Now that almost every component of your eCommerce site can be accelerated, this paves the way for even further developments into personalization and interactivity: see why retail leaders such as Bosch, Home24 and Lufthansa trust us to accelerate their online presence and get in touch today.