With so many high online user expectations, it is important for the businesses behind the websites to stay on top of system performance challenges, security measures, mobile capabilities, data analytics and predictive traffic patterns. In the competitive arena of digital customer engagement, web developers and architects must examine, measure and reevaluate how they can improve their delivery of:
- High-performance responsiveness
The ultimate goal is to provide your customers with high-performing, dependable web experiences that increase conversions and user engagement. IT departments can achieve this through a combination of proven technologies, however, the simpler these technologies are, the better. The website is only one of the many areas IT is responsible for, so the less complex its infrastructure is, the better.
1. High performance
For the online customer, and particularly the mobile user, speed is integral to a satisfactory engagement. And for e-commerce enterprises, delivering fast, high-quality web experiences for highly interactive content is critical for increasing conversion rates and to improve the bottom line. In fact, sluggish page loads can significantly reduce customer engagement. For example, Etsy discovered that adding 160 KB of image bytes to its pages increased the bounce rate by 12 percent. (Laura Swanson, “Web performance is user experience,” O’Reilly Radar)
Enabling mobile devices to achieve high performance from your web-hosting environment, however, requires a different technology approach than what has been traditionally used to serve desktops. And due to the rapid pace of innovation and speed of adoption in the mobile platform, firms will need to move with speed and agility to design the right architecture to deliver the responsiveness their customers require. Three key recommendations for optimizing the performance of RWD-based sites include:
- Measuring site performance from the user’s point of view, particularly time-to-first-rendering and time-to-first-interaction
- Optimizing front-end delivery, including code and code delivery
- Reach agreement among development team members and internal stakeholders regarding the performance standards your organization needs to achieve and maintain.( Mark Grannan, “Optimizing Your Responsive Website Performance to Overcome Mobile Hurdles,” Forrester)
These steps can help a firm find solutions that reduce website and infrastructure complexity, enable a faster end-user experience and better support a wide variety of mobile strategies, whether adopting RWD or working to improve its performance.
Whether e-commerce firms have an aggressive growth strategy or are simply attempting to better manage the unprecedented growth in online and mobile platforms, scalability is critical to success. Scaling to meet an increase in business volume requires technology strategies and architecture that allow faster data access and faster application performance—even as data and applications increase. Firms must provide capacity on demand to meet peak web traffic. This can be a particular challenge with lower-processing power mobile devices. Results are typically best achieved with the power and scale of a robust platform. In the corporate culture, it’s important to improve mobile performance of web environments as more and more data is accessed via mobile devices instead of desktops. Rather than simply adding hardware, storage and network capacity to existing architecture, a growing number of organizations achieve web scaling through optimization services.7 Whether the organization is seeking to seamlessly scale across its growing business, or across platforms and devices—including mobile—many find they can optimize performance with capabilities such as:
- Caching: Speed can be increased by continuously pulling and caching fresh content onto servers that are closest to end users.
- Advanced offload: The user experience can be improved with a granular and intelligent caching of dynamic and personalized content based on user segmentation.
Ultimately, effective scaling solutions can deliver rich, fast and engaging web experiences across devices, networks, browsers and locations.
Avoiding site failure is essential to delivering fast, responsive online experiences that meet or exceed user expectations. To meet this need, highly available hosting solutions can keep an organization’s website available even when other sites are experiencing outages.
When exploring solutions for ensuring availability, organizations should look for comprehensive capabilities including:
- Monitoring the availability of the origin infrastructure
- Rerouting requests when the origin is not available
The superior level of protection that these capabilities provide not only ensures continued access to web content, it also provides a critical advantage in the competitive e-commerce environment—keeping your online environment open for business to meet your customers’ needs.
Improving the e-commerce experience is not simply about overcoming the physical limitations of systems—it also relies heavily on understanding and meeting the requirements of user devices and the particular conditions surrounding a given connection. To optimize the user experience on a scenario-by-scenario basis, today’s e-commerce firms need a way to leverage device and network intelligence for valuable insight into their audience’s mobile consumption—as well as the characteristics and capabilities of the devices being used.
To improve the user experience, organizations need consistent and reliable visibility into the performance their customers encounter, across browsers, networks and devices. The right intelligence solution—delivering sophisticated knowledge about each data request, including information about device characteristics and real-time network conditions—can enable content providers to provide a differentiated experience for each end-user request. It also can reduce the cost and complexity of keeping up with a continually changing landscape of devices and their capabilities. The intelligence gathered can provide valuable consumer insights that enable strategic business decisions.
As the online channel continues to grow, security threats increase as well. Enterprise organizations are being hacked, causing havoc across their entire customer base. The loss in business revenue and deterioration of the brand image are enormous concerns—driving organizations to adopt new technology solutions to ensure that transactions and data are protected. Customers require a safe online experience; one negative experience can significantly impact a firm’s customer base and brand loyalty.
Measuring an e-commerce firm’s performance profile, taking a new look at its approach to web scaling, ensuring availability, providing a targeted user experience and protecting online transactions are critical steps not only to surviving but also to thriving in today’s e-commerce environment.
As organizations seek to harness the potential of the mobile platform, partnering with a provider that can help overcome online and mobile challenges can be an important step.
Flagship Solutions Group can be that provider, helping you simplify increasingly complex web delivery and enabling a faster website experience—one that is highly available, secure and scalable to meet peak capacity demands with power and scalability.
Schedule a consultation with Flagship to discuss your options for web delivery, acceleration and optimization technologies.
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