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Retailers: Your End-User Experience Is Lacking, Here’s How to Fix It

Next week, Yottaa is heading out to Seattle for the 2014 Shop.Org Summit. There we will be joined by hundreds of the world’s most successful retailers and that got us thinking. How well is the eCommerce industry adapting to an ever-changing online landscape?

We decided to find out for ourselves and scraped website performance metrics from 400+ top retail applications. Then we compared our new figures with numbers from Yottaa’s 2013 report.

Here’s a peek at what we found:

1.) Websites are Growing in Complexity (and it’s slowing them down):

The average image weight of applications has increased over time. No surprise here. Today’s applications are heavy, particularly eCommerce apps, and the trend continues with a sharp increase in average asset weight from 2013 (blue) to 2014 (red).

Average Website Asset Weight (Chart)

Application complexity presents a major challenge for eCommerce. Specifically, how to speed up and optimize application performance for the end user. The end user expects an image-rich shopping experience, but will not wait for sluggish load times. Retailers fall dismally short of UX standards.
2). The complexity issue has especially strong implications for the growing segment of mobile visitors, now over 50% of all retail traffic. In this consistent testing environment, LTE speeds yielded solid results with T2I (time to interact, aka full page load time): around 5 seconds, on par or better than typical desktop speeds.  However outside of LTE — which is rare to find a consistent connection to, if it can be found at all — things are much worse. Apps load on average in around 15 seconds on 4G, and a whopping 25 seconds on 3G.


But it’s not all bad. In our study, we found several applications that stand above the rest because they have been solved for the end user. The secret? A well-thought-out end-user strategy paired with proper technology for delivery.

Two Brands That Get End-User Experience Right

Our first example of a smartly optimized retail application: StageStores.

StageStore Application Metrics:

  • Time to interact: 1.8 seconds
  • Requests sent: 78
  • Images loaded: 40

StageStores has excellent time to interact of 1.8s, putting it under the two second barrier, an eCommerce industry performance standard that is rarely accomplished. Moreover, they have not gutted the application for speed?s sake; instead a beautiful, visually engaging user experience is delivered.

StageStores Homepage

For our second example, let’s turn to mobile. Last week, we wrote about the future of mobile commerce. Here’s an example of a brand well positioned for mobile success: ALDO Shoes. We tested the ALDO application for performance metrics on iPhone5 on a 4G connection.

ALDO Shoes Application Metrics (mobile):

  • Time to Interact: 7710ms
  • Requests Sent: 29
  • Images Loaded: 12

ALDO delivers in mobile whereas other retailers are falling short. A time-to-interact under 8 seconds is impressive on mobile. Moreover, ALDO does it while still offering a robust end-user experience. The fact that this mobile performance profile is an outlier rather than the norm helps to explain why mobile devices continue to have a much lower conversion rate than other devices.

If you’re going to be in Seattle for the summit, join us at booth 838. We’re offering on-the-spot performance evaluations, and benchmarking all eCommerce shops at the show.  Come by to see how your speed compares with the rest.  If you’re at the top, you can stake your territory on our leaderboard for all to see!  Also, you can click the button below if you would like to schedule a meeting with a Yottaa team member at the show.

Can’t make it? That’s okay. Run your own website test.

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