It’s not too late to learn from 2014 and ensure a more successful 2015 holiday shopping season with site performance and availability measures.
Retailers that fared the best in 2014 are those that not only kept their sites running smoothly but also could make needed changes. While this is counter to traditional approaches where websites are “locked down” for the holidays even months ahead of Cyber Monday, the survey highlights how the most successful firms are moving beyond this approach.
Site Performance Matters
Internet Retailer surveyed 158 ecommerce executive and managers about their 2014 holiday season, and the results are compelling. According to the summary report, available here (registration required), of the companies that hit website performance goals, nearly 98% achieved or surpassed their revenue plans for the holiday season. And of the companies that frequently made updates to their sites during the busy holiday shopping season, 78% of them met or far exceeded revenue goals.
Nearly 25% of the surveyed companies did not meet their site performance goals. With consumer expectations on the rise and likely investments by the competition, no ecommerce brand can risk sitting idle, even if you are one of the stakeholders whose expectations were met in 2014.
Agility and Controls
Furthermore, the survey results suggest a correlation between revenue and agility. Business stakeholders are looking to have more control over experience delivery, which includes having the ability to quickly make site changes. Per the summary report, merchants that were able to make frequent changes to their sites during the holiday season not only had better revenue results, but also less downtime than retailers that completely locked down their sites.
This concept of business empowerment is not new, the level and granularity of controls over the delivery of the experience has evolved drastically. In their Predictions 2015 report, Forrester analysts state, “In 2015, content marketers will learn what they have been missing and demand access to the delivery controls.” This is consistent with Kanban’s experience. We recently implemented a number of performance measures and controls for clients, best outlined in this case study and on our site here.
Despite sizeable investments in responsive design and dedicated mobile sites, there is still room for improvement. Bandwidth-constrained mobile experiences–often also weighed down by rich, high-resolution assets–are not meeting user expectations. The impact is profound. According to the study, no retailers with more than 50% of mobile traffic far exceeded their revenue goals. Retailers with the very least amount of mobile traffic (10% or less) and those with the very highest amount of mobile traffic (more than 50%) had the lowest performance. Retailers with the least amount of mobile traffic were most likely to miss their revenue goals.
Take Action Now for 2015
Preparation and planning go a long way. With only a few months before the 2015 holiday season, it is not too late to shore up your ecommerce operation. Quick hits include use of HTTP accelerators, front-end code optimizations, image/asset manipulation and CDNs, to name a few. These are usually efforts that can be implemented in a matter of weeks, rather than months and can be done independent of your core technology platform, whether that be ecommerce, CMS or other.
Performance and agility are a core part of Kanban’s services. We can help to augment existing resources to make 2015 your best holiday period ever!