Study: Fast Web performance outshines rich online experiences
To stand out in a highly saturated digital marketplace, retailers must deliver fast speeds that drive top-notch experiences.
This is according to “E-commerce Performance: What Works, What Doesn’t, and What’s Next?” The report, from Retail Systems Research (RSR), evaluates 80 major retail websites on page speed performance, as well as end user experience.
According to the study, more retailers are bolstering their desktop and mobile e-commerce sites with ancillary tools, including product reviews, recommendations, personalization, and chat features, among other services, to help shoppers find merchandise and make the shopping journey more satisfying. However, it is overall site performance that directly impacts online conversion.
“For retailers, much of the internal debate over rich online experience vs. fast Web performance has focused on either cramming more and more capabilities onto sites, no matter what impact that has on performance, or stripping out functions and features to make sure the site loads fast,” said Nikki Baird, managing partner, RSR.
“In today's competitive market, retailers cannot afford to make these trade-offs,” she said. “Our report found there is a lot of room for retailers to improve performance and, by doing so, open up new opportunities to make digital channels truly differentiating and engaging at the same time.”
Here are the top performance challenges that many e-commerce sites face today:
E-commerce site performance is disturbingly slow: The rule of thumb for e-commerce site performance is if it takes more than three seconds to load, retailers risk customers leaving their sites due to slow performance resulting in lost revenue. Time-to-complete load times among the 80 retailers systemically underperformed customer expectations, averaging 9.5 seconds on mobile, and 16.6 seconds on desktop. Studies have shown that every second of Web latency can result in a 7% loss in conversion.
Third-party applications build great experiences, but hide a darker side: Retailers in the study used an average of 70 third-party e-commerce applications on their websites. These third-party partners may help them create a richer shopping experience, but they also require hundreds of additional requests to build each page. As a result, 50% to 75% of the time required to load a page was spent waiting on third parties. websites with above average use of third parties (>70) were 20% slower than those below the average.
Several retailers’ sites “errored” out of the evaluation: Many of the tested retail sites featured content – usually images – that would not load. This included one retailer whose entire site was totally unavailable. The homepage for this site featured a message that read “We’re usually awesome at this. Please don’t refresh your browser. You’ll be back in the flow shortly.”
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Walgreens’ mobile app popular with this age group
Walgreens’ mobile apps biggest fans aren’t exactly the demographic people typically associate with technology adoption.
The chain on Tuesday shared data showing that more than 20% of its user base are ages 55 years and older — a demographic that only makes up 9% of overall smartphone ownership. And 27% of people using Walgreens’ mobile pharmacy tools fall into the 55-plus demographic, compared with the 10% of smartphone owners in that age group who told Forrester Research they use health-and-wellness apps. Walgreens said that it credits such tools as “ Pill Reminder" and "Refill by Scan" for the app’s popularity in this demographic group.
“One of the things we repeatedly hear is that customers really value their connections with individual pharmacists and staff,” Walgreens divisional VP loyalty Mindy Heintskill said. “We wanted to replicate that connection digitally, so customers can get a high-value, personalized experience even when they can’t make it into a store. We created Pharmacy Chat, which enables customers to have access to trusted experts through our site or mobile app anytime of the day or night, wherever they are. We’ve also seen opportunities for tools like individual pill reminders and prescription alerts to help our customers simplify their daily lives.”
Among the feature enhancements Walgreens has made to its loyalty app is TouchID support on iOS devices and secure auto-login to make it easier for users who might have a hard time remembering or finding their login information, as well as simplified menus and support for phones that offer larger font size options for apps. Additionally, the app features the pill reminder feature to make it easier for older patients with multiple daily dosages to remember their medication, the company said.
“You know you’ve got a differentiator in the marketplace with this kind of traction,” Heintskill said. “With consumer expectations rising, we continue to put customer needs at the center of everything we do. The fact that more than 20% of our app users are in the 55 plus age group is a testament to the extensive research and consumer testing our team conducts to develop the most customer-centric tools for our users. We innovate based on our customers’ needs — not just for the fun of it.”
not a surprise who uses Walgreens the most: frequency, annual purchase $, breadth of categories? those on long term prescriptions age is increasingly no longer relevant shift to behavior
Study: Amazon is getting a ‘whole’ lot more from its latest acquisition
While Amazon’s purchase of Whole Foods Market signifies a staggering boost in its physical store breadth, the deal is much more valuable than that.
This is according to “LandMark Insights,” a report from PlaceIQ. The study analyzed more than 165 million anonymous and opted-in mobile device signals nationwide to determine visitation patterns and audience affinities, among other metrics. These transactions were compiled over a 90-day period.
According to the data, Whole Foods is proving it is so much more than a grocery store where shoppers stock up on a week’s worth of groceries for a family of five. Rather, for many customers, it is a “grab-and-go” spot for lunch or dinner, and visits can spike all day long.
Whole Foods receives 12% more traffic during lunchtime than any other time of the day. Meanwhile, Kroger Co. sees their spike after work around 5 p.m. — prime shopping time for customers picking up ingredients for their family dinner or restocking for the rest of the week. Whole Foods’ changing role throughout the day will be valuable to Amazon going forward. Specifically, the online giant will be able to address two different customer occasions within a single location, the report revealed.
Meanwhile, Amazon is gaining a new type of shopper, one that invests their time — and money — during each Whole Foods visit. For example, Whole Foods shoppers are willing to travel the farthest to buy in-store — traveling an average of 5.51 miles. Kroger customers tend to opt for convenience, only traveling an average of 3.4 miles, the study said.
The one area that may be new to Amazon is that Whole Foods customers tend to shop regularly with other grocers. For example, Kroger shoppers are 58% more likely to return on a weekly basis, while Whole Foods customers are only 10% likely. While shoppers are willing to travel farther to a Whole Foods, oftentimes, it is for select items and many times on a one-off basis, data revealed.
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