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How to Accelerate Commerce Site Performance to Win Big on Black Friday

Consumers spent $4.45 billion during Thanksgiving and Black Friday in 2015. Online sales are up 13 percent so far this year, with a widening gap between digital property and department store revenues. At the same time, 2016 market forecasts are broadly optimistic.

Among the reasons that digital channels are doing better is that brands have improved both their desktop web and mobile experiences. But maintaining high levels of engagement and customer retention depends on enhanced features and online performance that is nearly flawless.

Many retailers are doing all the right things in terms of stunning designs, vibrant videos, native apps, advanced search, chat, social sharing, recommendations, personalization, convenience, easy payment, and fast fulfillment to keeps buyers coming back.

However, the devil is in the details. For some brands, all of this new overhead has bloated and slowed their site performance.

Optimize Everything
The weight of web pages has grown by over 225 percent since 2001. While that may seem a lifetime ago, it has been a journey that also witnessed the prominent rise of mobile, where slow-loading content is the top complaint among consumers who are quick to bail out of a transaction when they are frustrated by wait times.

It is harder for a shopper in a physical store to leave and run off to a competitor if they are not quickly receiving what they want. They make an investment in time and travel when they choose one store over another, and are less likely to want to drive across town and find a new parking space. But online buyers can travel at the speed of light with a few clicks to another retailer with a more satisfying experience and similar or identical products.

When brands prepare for peak periods like Black Friday and Cyber Monday, they should be aware of the experiences of last year’s Neiman Marcus and Target website crashes. The reality is that sites always need to be layered to load with the speed and capacity that consumer traffic demands.

Cover All the Bases
The first disconnect between these realities and expectations may be in-house, where IT teams and their business colleagues in commerce, marketing, social media, and other customer-facing roles need to get themselves on the same page. They must collaborate on adopting effective content orchestration techniques that enable new innovations to deliver the best possible experience, without risking lost sales due to slower page loads.

Today’s most sophisticated websites make an average of 220 calls to as many as 80 servers for each page load. Successfully managing the deluge of data behind the scenes of every customer engagement is essential for success.

Companies that want to close all the gaps should execute client-side strategies that shift the way elements load – or remove them entirely – depending on the devices type, screen size, browser, location, and connection. Next-generation web optimization tools that go far beyond routine content delivery network technology reorganize the sequence of every element to boost shopper satisfaction and revenues – while creating the perception of speed for the user.

For retailers and B2B vendors who seek to achieve significant growth in online traffic and conversion rates, implementing a proven content delivery solution that optimizes and accelerates web content is a business requirement that should not be underestimated.