Passionate about planning ahead Chief Delivery Officer at Tryzens, Kaloyan Yordanov, says his favourite game is chess and that he often uses chess tactics when talking about eCommerce where “preparation is everything.”
I love to travel, for both work and pleasure, and have just got back from a week in Australia meeting one of our clients there. The great thing about visiting other countries is that you get to learn about different cultures and consumer behaviour and get to know different brands. While eCommerce has made it possible for retailers to provide a global offering, geographical differences remain, and online retailers still have to cater for different buying habits.
However, one thing is universal – shoppers don’t like to wait. Consumers expect sites to load in a couple of seconds. If your site is slow, shoppers will get frustrated and leave. By improving the speed of your site, you can considerably boost revenue.
While everyone in eCommerce understands the need for speed, we find clients aren’t always aware of all the factors that influence site performance. There are lots of things that must be measured and these are specific to the shop.
It is important to analyse your shoppers’ experiences and the speeds they receive throughout your website, all year round. This will show which components really matter to revenue – is it load times for the homepage, above the fold content on product pages, or the complete product page? What about other resources used to enrich the consumer experience such as live chat, promotions, reviews, guides and blogs?
We benchmark our clients against their competitors’ sites to see what is typical and create internal benchmarks to enable our clients to focus on the areas that matter most to their bottom line.
We benchmark our clients against their competitors’ sites…
Having worked at Tryzens for over four years and in the industry for ten, I know how important good communication and collaboration is to the success of eCommerce projects. We thoroughly explore what our clients want and the consequences of each decision area.
Sometimes retailers’ marketing efforts impact the performance required from their sites. A client once used a high volume email marketing campaign to drive traffic to their online shop in a way that caused huge numbers of cache misses. They almost brought the site down because they had failed to share key information about the timing of the campaign – everyone learnt from that lesson! We now have more proactive engagement with all of our clients around their marketing plans.
Marketing campaigns need careful planning, not just on the message and promotion, but on the effectiveness of their distribution. Content Delivery Network Services (CDNS) such as Akamai or Cloudflare can be used to great effect, delivering duplicated content to the geographic locations of the user. Content is stored in multiple cache servers, keeping it local to the consumer so it can be readily accessed, saving time and delivering a better user experience.
Marketing campaigns need careful planning…
Capacity planning is essential to understand if your site can confidently cope with a massive increase in load and meet expectations for growth. It is no use planning a month before Black Friday. Sites need to be designed to deal with peak traffic and be load tested well in advance.
If the design life of the shop is, say, three years, do you predict that transactions will increase 2x or even 10x? A venture capital backed eCommerce shop is unlikely to be satisfied with anything less than a 10x growth in transactions over the term of their investment. Whereas, an established shop within an experienced eCommerce vendor may expect less dramatic growth.
It is essential to figure out in advance how much traffic there is likely to be in various locations and allow for contingency. Individual geographic markets have wildly different growth rates and it is crucial to consider server capacity in the locations that will see major increases in eCommerce. The retail eCommerce growth rate in the US is expected be about 16% in 2016, whereas the growth rate in China is expected to be around 50%. Other parts of South East Asia, underserved by retail eCommerce, could experience even higher growth rates.
Capacity scenarios need to be planned out in advance according to location…
It’s never too soon to start planning your next eCommerce project and to optimise your website. When it comes to platform choice, technical architecture and third party product selection, we match our clients’ requirements to the leading industry offerings and make sure components such as payment gateways or fulfillment solutions are suitable for their plans and ambitions for growth. It is important to spend time considering the potential options – get this right at the beginning and you will save a lot of time and money in the execution of the project.
There are many approaches possible which make use of existing eCommerce investments and deliver the best possible experience for your customers. As with chess, always plan in advance and double-check your moves before you play them by testing every scenario!
One of our clients that has achieved strong compound growth wanted to make certain that their platform would continue to achieve results over the coming years. So we carried out a performance review and implemented changes that ensured their site hummed along nicely under peak load, supporting another record breaking year of online sales.
Keep your team informed on trading
We find that retailers often struggle to gather timely and accurate evidence of performance in order to make informed decisions. It is important to keep track of your trends and be ready to act in the event your sales peak earlier than expected. One of the great successes of 2016 at Tryzens was the launch of TradeState, our real-time analytics platform, which places our customers ‘in the know’ about their customer traffic, buying behaviour and site performance, all from a mobile device, anywhere, anytime.
TradeState keeps customers ‘in the know’
ECommerce is not a one-off project, I think of it like the game of chess where you must continuously adapt and fine tune your game plans over time. Delivering innovations, such as TradeState, ensures our clients are in a confident position to determine their priorities for years ahead.
I’m more than to happy to answer any questions on site performance, platform selection and optimisation. Contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org