Load time, the conversion killer in eCommerce

Six tips for improving the performance of your webshop

Performance problems are regarded as the ultimate conversion killer in eCommerce. What makes webshop performance degrade and what can be done about it? We will answer these questions in this blog post.

04.07.2024Text: bbv0 Comments
Headerbild E-commerce

Imagine going into a shop and having to wait several minutes before someone serves you. Chances are, you’ll get frustrated and leave and shop elsewhere. That’s precisely what happens in the digital world when your webshop loads slowly.

In the fast-moving world of eCommerce, customers have limited patience. If the product page is slow to load, customers simply leave the shop and go to the competition instead. A fast loading time is therefore not just a user experience issue, but of critical importance for sales and crucial for building long-term customer relationships.

Poor webshop performance has a direct impact on the conversion rate. Source: Akamai, The state of online retail performance, 2017

 

But how can poor performance be avoided, and which strategies can be used? These questions are paramount for success in the highly competitive eCommerce market. We provide answers.

Why performance goes downhill

New online shops often start out with good performance, but problems usually develop gradually and it’s often too late when they are discovered. By this time, many customers have already had a negative experience. There are many factors that contribute to performance degradation:

  • Scaling: More customers mean greater strain on the infrastructure.
  • Database growth: A larger product range generates more orders and increases database load.
  • Complexity: New features increase demands on the system.
  • External factors: Slow partner interfaces can negatively impact performance.
  • Seasonal peaks: Events such as Black Friday can quickly reduce performance.

Monitoring and early detection are key

Constant monitoring of shop performance is therefore critical. It allows early intervention and prevents customer losses. Attention should focus on customer-facing features such as search, article view, catalogue navigation and checkout, rather than on less important functions such as profile management.

The infrastructure should also be monitored, especially CPU load, memory usage and network performance.

Using performance tests to identify bottlenecks

Scaling the infrastructure is the most obvious and probably easiest way to optimise performance. However, this is often only a short-term solution, because doubling the infrastructure does not mean that performance will double.

The first step towards long-term improvement is to identify bottlenecks. Performance tests can provide valuable insights here. Targeted measures can then be taken to eliminate these bottlenecks.

We provide you with six tips here for how you can optimise the performance of your webshop:

  1. Use caching: Overloaded databases can slow down your online shop. Use caching to temporarily store frequently accessed product data. This way, it does not have to be reloaded every time it is accessed, thus significantly reducing load times.
  2. Optimise the search function: Product searches can quickly overload a database. Move this function to specialised search engines such as Solr or Elasticsearch, which not only offer the benefit of faster searches but also additional features such as autocomplete and multifaceted filter options.
  3. Asynchronous processes: An order triggers a number of actions – from order confirmation to stock updates. These processes do not need to take place in real time, rather can be deferred to speed up the checkout process and reduce the load on the server.
  4. Modular architecture: Not all shop functions are equally important when it comes to performance. By using a modular architecture, you can optimise the infrastructure for time-critical functions and less time-critical functions separately. This will reduce costs and increase flexibility.
  5. Plan for scalability: On days when visitor traffic is high, such as Black Friday, your shop must be particularly efficient. Plan ahead therefore and temporarily scale up your resources to cope with the surge in demand.
  6. Maintain database indexes: An untidy database can significantly impair performance. Use special tools to create efficient indexes and remove those that are not needed. But beware: Not all seldomly used indexes are redundant. Some are essential for certain processes.

Conclusion

Overcoming performance problems in eCommerce is a complex process and requires investment in terms of both time and money. Early detection and fast action are therefore critical. In most cases, however, scaling the infrastructure simply offers a short-term remedy – what is needed are long-term strategies.

A balanced approach involving swift measures and long-term planning leads to sustained improvement in performance and therefore success.

Author

Kevin Wyden

Kevin Wyden is a Senior Software Engineer at bbv. He has more than ten years of experience as a .NET full stack developer and focuses mainly on the topic of web development. The performance and quality of eCommerce solutions are especially important to him.

BIM2FM: How digital building management works

Making effective use of BIM data in facility management

Individual Solution
Microfrontends: Taking microservices to the next level

How web developers reduce complexity

Microservices
Digitalised customer processes

How augmented reality improves the customer experience

Customer Experience

Attention!

Sorry, so far we got only content in German for this section.

Achtung!

Sorry, so far we only have English-language content for this section.