Can the Right Mobile Optimization Trick be a Treat for Customers?
By Aaron Rudger | October 31, 2012
After a night of trick or treating on Halloween, all children will agree; there's always that one piece of candy in their bag that nobody wants. The treat may have been given with good intention but really ends up being sour grapes in a wrapper instead.
Online retailers have their own sets of tricks of the trade to better acquire and retain mobile customers. But sometimes, those treats can be sour grapes in a wrapper for the end user.
With increasing statistics showing the impatience of mobile customers (65 percent of mobile users prefer a sub-4 second download speed), this holiday season will be a critical test on mobile user patience and retail performance. Implementing key best practices can help you prepare for the pending holidays, as Halloween kicks it off.
Data URIs are a great trick for mobile web optimization as a solution for reducing HTTP requests and round trips, which could result in slower load and response times. With data URIs, images are embedded within the actual HTML document, eliminating the need to request a file from the host server to be further retrieved and downloaded. While increasing the size of the base HTML, this eliminates latency and the potential for "chatty" delays that can scare away sales.
Redirections are also a commonly used (and often misused) method to channel traffic from the main site of a page to a mobile landing page. This trick of the trade is common, yet can attribute to slower connection times if not monitored and implemented correctly. By simply optimizing websites for mobile web instead of redirecting from a home page, companies can shave seconds off load times and keep customers longer on their site. During the holiday season, this is a great way to call attention to your “must have” sale items and get your shoppers geared up quickly.
Less is more. Research from Keynote's Mobile Commerce Index in August revealed how Petsmart shaved 1.56 seconds off its time, taking the load time for its mobile homepage from 9.54 seconds to 7.98 in a matter of a week by simply minimalizing the amount of kilobytes needed to load the page. This basic best practice should be used for your websites any time of year.
Set the bar. If you do only one thing this holiday period around your mobile web strategy, make sure you measure performance. Establish a baseline of your average load time, as it would be experienced by users accessing your site from real mobile carriers, by monitoring your site consistently. Then, dig into that data after the holiday season and examine the distribution of performance. What you find maybe as startling as a trip through a haunted house! The only way to improve is to have actionable data that can help you identify performance opportunities.
Creating a positive shopping experience for those living in a fast-paced world is crucial to the survival and competitiveness for any mobile commerce site. Tricks of the trade aside, consistently monitoring performance and continually optimizing for mobile web is the best overall strategy to keep existing and potential customers happy and revisiting your site!
Don't be afraid to start today.