Blog: eBags Experiments with Higher Speed. Conversions Result.

September 20, 2017 Tedd Rodman

This week’s blog uses a Yottaa customer story to address a common question regarding web design and website speed. Which is better – a rich customer experience, or a leaner website that loads faster?  

This is the question eBags posed. And the path they chose brought in 10% more orders.  Hear the story straight from eBags CTO Mike Frazzini in his video interview, or keep reading to see how they did it.    

New UX Technologies:  The Promise and the Problem

eBags has always been an aggressive adopter of new eCommerce 3rd party technologies. In fact, they were one of the first to deploy search & navigation and A/B testing over a decade ago. “Experiment our way to success” is one of the company’s guiding principles, and they regularly test new technologies for every release cycle, keeping those that have a statistically significant impact on sales. This type of aggressiveness has helped propel eBags to #167 on the IR 500, and over $150 million in sales.

But as mobile traffic increased and responsive design governed their site, eBags discovered a hidden cost to rapidly introducing new technologies into their website. Customers loved the features and tools that made shopping easier. But they hated the page loading delays and errors that made shopping a challenge.  

Testing confirmed this suspicion. eBags found that after 3 seconds, customers began leaving the site. Every additional second required to load the page resulted in a 20% drop in conversion rate. So as eBags tested new technologies, their impact on speed became an important measure for determining if a feature made the next release. It no longer made sense to deploy 3rd party technologies that increased conversion by 5% (normally an enormous benefit) if they also slowed down the experience by 1 second. As a result, promising new content and features littered the cutting room floor after each release.

Yottaa: Accelerating Innovation and a Rich UX

eBags needed a solution that would accelerate their website, and then keep it fast while they added rich content and 3rd party tags. They had already maximized the potential of their CDN to increase performance, and needed a new approach. They turned to Yottaa.

Yottaa is an eCommerce Acceleration Platform that allows websites like eBags to increase the speed of their site and eliminate delays from 3rd party tags and JavaScript. But as with every proposed change to their site, eBags was determined to “experiment their way to success,” and needed to test Yottaa before rolling it out. They designed an A/B split test for the mobile website, because those customers were most sensitive to delays, and the new responsive design created many new challenges with performance.

Results: 30% Faster, 10% Higher Conversion Rate

The results of the split test were more than conclusive. Yottaa delivered significant speed and conversion rate improvements when compared to the control group. The Yottaa-powered mobile site consistently loaded 30% faster, and this improvement resulted in 10% higher conversion rates.

But even more importantly, Yottaa’s front end optimization and application sequencing capabilities allowed eBags to test dozens of new technologies without being concerned about the speed of the site. From this testing, eBags ultimately picked a handful of winning technologies that increased conversion rates even further.   All while continuing to deliver a fast and error-free experience.

Looking Forward

eBags’ focus on experimentation and speed paid enormous dividends over the past year.  They experienced record traffic over the 2016 Cyber Weekend – 92% increase on mobile, 40% increase across all channels.  And in April, eBags was acquired by Samsonite. This acquisition could be a great opportunity for eBags to expand their reach and innovation on a much larger scale. In the meantime, eBags continues to use the Yottaa platform to maintain the speed, availability, and security of their site while they experiment their way to new successes under the Samsonite brand.  

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