With online retailers trying engage their shoppers wherever they are and regardless of device, mobile and web optimization is a must for success. Retailers simply cannot afford to keep customer waiting for web pages to load, when even a one-second delay in site response time can result in a noticeable decrease in conversions.
Bollman Hat Company, the parent company of nearly a dozen global hat retail brands including hats.com and kangolstore.com, recognized the need for web and mobile optimization and have seen a 20 percent year-over-year conversion rate increase since partnering with Yottaa, a cloud-based engagement optimization software provider.
Consumers now expect retailers to have a website solution that’s going to work on any device that they’re using, and one that will provide them with a consistent experience from device to device. Bollman’s hats.com and kangolstore.com brands had existing websites, but were looking to upgrade the experience for customers.
“Consumers are looking for retail sites that will show them very clear, high-resolution photos of inventory, the ability to easily search across that inventory and get to the products they want. They’re also looking for localized reviews, and personalized content like discounts based on location. And if your site doesn’t load within two seconds, people are going to click back to the search results and try a different site,” says Yottaa vp of products Ari Weil.
First and foremost, Bollman wanted to limit the bounce rate on their sites—a rate that was directly proportional to their initial page loading speed. Secondly, the brand wanted to make sure that more people converted from visitors into customers, and to lower abandon rates of online shopping carts.
Building a new site from the ground up is time consuming, and Bollman decided to partner with Yottaa because the brand wanted a service that allowed them to guarantee an ongoing level of performance and security without making major modifications to its website.
Bollman needed the ability to have localized reviews, social media integration and the ability to make purchases online securely as part of its new site, and needed to leverage a solution in this area without changing code or infrastructure on its site. As a software as a service platform, Yottaa is housed in the cloud and is inserted between Bollman’s infrastructure and the end user, so it can be integrated seamlessly.
Weil explains that Yottaa uses application sequencing to decouple all dynamic content from a page when it’s initially loading. So Facebook widgets and third-party elements that take longer to load are loaded separately, leaving the most important content (a brand’s product information) to load immediately.
“The challenge on smartphones is that you’ve got a connection that is shaky at best, the speed is all over the place. Beyond that, mobile phones are 10 times less powerful than laptop computers, they have tiny screens and lots of things competing for the CPU at the same time. All of those things together make it a technical nightmare to get all of your information over to the device. Application sequencing sends site content to users as they need it, as opposed to in one huge chunk that takes a long time to load,” Weil says.
Mobile web pages that are loaded in this manner are very responsive, meaning that users don’t see ‘waiting’ or errors and they don’t have problems loading and consuming the page.
“They’re just able to have a seamless experience that feels like the content is being delivered to them directly in line with the actions that they’re taking,” Weil says.
After implementing this technology, results showed kangolstore.com’s bounce rate decreased by 6.5 percent and hats.com’s by five percent, meaning fewer people were leaving the site after visiting the landing page.
Moving forward, Weil says that online security will be an ever-present issue for marketers and retailers to tangle with, and that wearable technology like smart watches, Google Glass and the like will present new problems as well.
“People are not going to solve all of the problems with wireless connectivity before there’s an explosion of different form factors and devices that are going to make it more challenging to have a consistent experience. And the adoption curve is very flat at this point—everybody is on a mobile device and the things they expect are getting more and more personalized and more distributed. I think technology is going to have no choice but to force designers, marketers and ecommerce professionals into the absolute simplest way to do things, because the technology can’t keep pace with users’ expectations or consumption patterns,” Weil says.