In e-Commerce, seconds — even fractions of seconds — can mean the difference between a completed sale and a lost one. So it’s hardly a surprise that nearly two thirds (64%) of leading online retailers “tune up” their web sites for the all-important holiday season.
Simply put, speed is critical: 71% of e-Commerce executives said shoppers don’t convert due to slow page load times, and virtually all (97%) believe web site performance directly impacts their online revenue.
The need for better innovation was the top holiday concern:
- 90% of respondents say they need to innovate better if they want to compete against other brands;
- 64% don’t think their pages are loading fast enough; and
- 48% say they need to add more features to their sites.
Faster Checkout Tops Investment Priority List
The “wish list” for these e-Commerce leaders reflects the importance of providing a seamless customer experience. 70% of respondents plan to invest in three or more of the following improvements to their site:
- Faster checkout: 74%
- Web site performance: 70%
- Mobile optimization: 69%
- Personalization: 52%
- Re-platforming: 36%
In their search for innovation, respondents often feel stymied by their IT departments, and are willing to try new technologies in search of better e-Commerce experiences. Just over half, 53%, said they would move off a monolithic platform to a service-based architecture to be more nimble and flexible.
There’s also frustration with low ROI: on average, these retailers invest $2.5 million annually on custom optimization, SEO/Paid Search and third-party technologies. However, they are disappointed with the dividends on these investments due to poor web performance.
Holiday Preparation Checklist
To prepare for the spike in holiday traffic, all digital retailers should perform the following tasks:
- Identify point of contact at all mission-critical vendors;
- Perform load testing to ensure sites can handle peak loads;
- Make sure all Calls to Action work as intended (e.g. add to cart, newsletter sign-up, etc.);
- Identify slow calls (images, scripts, third parties, cart look-ups) that could tie up server resources and delay loading of the site;
- Monitor uptime, availability and performance to catch any problems before they escalate; and
- Minimize changes to the web site code and infrastructure.