One of the biggest conflicts in managing eCommerce sites is balancing performance versus the strong content and capabilities needed for optimal shopper engagement. A minimalist design approach is often used to power fast eCommerce sites, but the resulting slimmed-down site often falls short of experiences customers demand and expect.
To help improve performance, many online retailers put their sites on a diet by holding back 3rd party applications, such as live chat, personalization, and recommendations. However, by doing so, they negatively impact customer engagement by providing sub-par end user experiences.
In 2017, retailers are realizing they can have both optimal performance and engagement without putting their sites on a diet, cutting back on content, reducing availability, or compromising on the quality of their customer experience.
eCommerce Sites Are Complex… And Only Getting Worse
In recent years, digital marketing managers succumbed to pressure to cut the fat from their eCommerce sites in favor of faster page load times, knowing that consumers will quickly abandon a site if it takes more than three seconds to load.
According to statistics from the digital performance analytics company, Catchpoint, some leading retailers experienced critical slowdowns over the latter part of 2016 due to third-party tags. This broad ecosystem of services has become an essential part of eCommerce site development, but when a third-party element becomes unavailable or slows down, the host site and its users suffer.
Function and Content Should Always Be First
The “mobile first” drumbeat of a few years ago resulted from dramatic increases in mobile adoption, and back then this made perfect sense. It discouraged designers from assembling one set of content for mobile and another for desktop, and it encouraged the creation of available and responsive mobile sites. As a result, marketing managers left off useful but resource-intensive content such as video, imagery, and other third-party tools that would have added relevant content and features to the customer journey.
Newer methodologies like Responsive Web Design (RWD) render mobile first design obsolete, allowing sites to create a “one and done” website suitable for both mobile and desktop.
In addition, content orchestration technologies can prioritize downloads to enhance RWD so that sites can load faster, empowering online retailers once and for all to focus on function and content without worrying about how it fits in or downloads to mobile.
Maximizing Performance and Conversion Rates
In today’s highly competitive online retail market, eCommerce business managers continue to push for more website features to provide shoppers a better customer experience, and IT people responsible for site performance and availability continue to push back, lobbying for sites to stay slim and trim. But now, using the latest available technologies, it is possible for any online retailer to deliver all of the latest features and that engaging customer experience, while keeping their commerce site responsive and fast.
For example, retailers are updating feature-heavy websites with new technologies designed to relieve the pressure of heavy traffic loads and convert shoppers into buyers. WalMartLabs, the retailer’s ecommerce technology unit, built its own in-house software for handling peak traffic across multiple regional clouds – and Target has embraced adaptive web design.
Plus, more and more prominent eCommerce players are deploying content acceleration and prioritization platforms like Yottaa, which go even further than responsive design, multi-cloud strategies, and content delivery networks, to quickly and efficiently sequence content to allow website visitors to begin engaging a site before all items have been downloaded. By doing so, online retailers have been able to significantly increase conversion rates.
It is no longer necessary to put shopping sites on a diet. Customers can enjoy all of the dynamic and innovative features and engaging product content, while traveling along at the speed of commerce.