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01/22/2019

Headed to eTail West?

If you will be attending eTail West in Palm Springs on February 19-22, stop by the Yottaa booth (#611) for a free website performance evaluation.

Retailers such as Carter's, The Container Store, Lands' End, and many more have been able to improve site performance up to 60% and increase online conversions up to 20% using Yottaa.

Click the button below to schedule your free site performance evaluation at eTail West!

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The Yottaa Ecommerce Blog

Personalization technologies shouldn't slow your website pages

The most effective eCommerce websites are using personalization technologies to deliver individualized content to every shopper. In today’s data-driven world, you can no longer rely on discounts or generic promotions to convert shoppers. 

Yet every time you add a new 3rd party technology like personalization, it can slow down your eCommerce site pages. Research shows that slow loading pages will cause shoppers to leave a website. How should you manage personalization so you don’t lose shoppers from slow loading pages? 

To answer this question, I’ll step through 5 questions about the benefits and pitfalls of eCommerce personalization.

1. Why are personalization technologies so valuable to online shopping?

Personalization technologies specialize in turning customer intelligence data into actionable, personalized experiences. They apply machine learning to shopper behavior and profile data in order to present more relevant content to each shopper. This is most commonly seen on eCommerce websites as product recommendations, but can also influence search results and other content. When effective, these technologies increase conversion rates, order sizes, and order margins.

2. How do personalization technologies impact eCommerce performance?

Personalized content is typically managed and controlled by a 3rd party technology vendor. These vendors have specialized cloud-based technology that analyzes large amounts of shopper data and delivers personalized content at internet speeds.

Retailers implement personalization by embedding vendor JavaScript on their eCommerce website. This JavaScript sends data about shopper behavior to the vendor’s servers, requests content from the vendor, and then presents it on the page. One piece of personalized content can require over a dozen round trip requests between the browser and 3rd party servers.

Performance problems occur when something goes wrong at any point in this process. Just one delayed request…one hanging calculation…and your shopper may never see your page.

3. Which personalization technologies slow eCommerce sites the most?

Yottaa collects data on over 1000 eCommerce websites that use our technology to optimize website performance and 3rd party technologies. As a result, we have detailed performance and error information on over 700 third party vendors. This enables us to rank personalization vendors based on adoption and impact on eCommerce speed and performance.

Here are the 5 personalization technologies that consistently demonstrate a negative impact on eCommerce speed and performance.

(1) Google Translator – On 52% of eCommerce websites, consistent negative performance impact

(2) Salesforce Commerce Cloud (Personalization) – 21%, consistent negative performance impact

(3) Dynamic Yield – 17%, consistent negative performance impact

(4) Evergage (MyBuys) – 9%, consistent negative performance impact

(5) Moveable Ink – 8%, consistent negative performance impact

4. Which personalization technologies hurt eCommerce performance the least?

These personalization technologies have the least impact on eCommerce website speed and performance:

(1) Bluecore – On 5% of eCommerce websites, with little or no impact on performance

(2) Monetate – 22%, inconsistent negative impact on performance

(3) Certona – 19%, inconsistent negative impact

(4) Sidecar – 13%, inconsistent negative impact

(5) Reflektion – 8%, inconsistent negative impact

5. What does this mean for your eCommerce website?

Personalization is a critical tool for engaging shoppers and increasing online sales. However, if you are using personalization technology that slows down pages for some shoppers, they won’t stay to see the personalized content. All your personalization strategy will have done is deliver a 0% conversion rate for those shoppers.

Take these four steps before deploying personalization technology on your eCommerce site:

a. Identify multiple vendors that meet your requirements – There is a robust industry of cloud-based personalization vendors, with specialties in recommendations, advertising, and other forms of personalization. A listing of the most widely adopted vendors can be found in the 2018 eCommerce 3rd Party Technology Index.

b. Assess their Performance Risk – Some vendors consistently cause delays and performance violations on eCommerce websites. If you aren’t willing to absorb this risk, isolate those vendors with the lowest performance impact. You can conduct your own live tests, or you can rely on published research about 3rd party technology performance

c. Test the Technology and Run Outage Scenarios – Expanding on #2, it’s important to test personalization technology to ensure both functional and performance criteria are met. In the process, run through outage scenarios so you understand how fast you can react when the technology fails or delays your pages. Despite most vendors 99.99% guarantees, outages do happen. Even Amazon has experienced problems

d. Apply eCommerce Acceleration Technology – Modern eCommerce acceleration technology allows retailers to sequence and control 3rd parties on their website. This technology loads personalization javascript at the right time to be optimally effective in influencing the shopper, while also minimizing the impact on page load times. If there is a critical delay or outage, this technology will temporarily remove the javascript in seconds, without a new code release. If performance is a concern, this technology will eliminate that headache.

Bottom line: If you don’t already have personalization on your eCommerce site, you need it! Don’t let performance risk be a concern – simply apply eCommerce acceleration technology to optimize the personalization JavaScript. By taking the steps above, you can focus your merchandising efforts on the best use cases for personalization, and stop worrying about personalized pages that never load.

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