4 Hidden Tweaks to Turbo Charge Your Ecommerce Store



Speed is everything when it comes to digital commerce and even small slowdowns can have a big impact on your bottom line. For example, a one second delay in page response time can result in a 7% reduction in conversions. Put into perspective, if an e-commerce site makes $100,000 per day, a one second page load delay could potentially cost $2.5 million in lost sales every year.

With the recent decision by the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) to regulate the Internet just like telephones — a concept known as Net Neutrality — the need to improve the speed of your ecommerce application has never been greater. No longer will large retailers, in theory, pay Internet Service Providers to guarantee the best available broadband speeds during peak selling times like Christmas and Black Friday. So how can retailers cope?

There are the usual tricks to getting more speed from your web store, such as enabling webserver compression, minifying JavaScript and CSS and using image sprites. Most businesses already do these things now. However, in the age of API-based applications, native mobile apps and other non-web based commerce applications, these tricks will only get you so far.

Here are four ways to speed up your digital business that you likely haven’t thought of yet:

  1. Flatten your SKU data model.

What is a SKU data model? Imagine a retail catalog with xs, s, m, l, xl sizes. Add men’s and women’s and then ten colors. All of a sudden you have one hundred SKUs for one product. Considering that you might have two thousand products in total, pretty soon you have a large catalog to deal with in system memory, searches and the product information database. Simplifying your catalog SKUs can yield big performance gains. You may be able to flatten the data model so that databases, in system memory and search algorithms, aren’t overloaded

  1. Caching is your friend and potential enemy if you don’t do eviction/expiry correctly.

Ideally, serving a product details page would not hit the database, except for price/inventory and even those should be in a short-lived cache for the product details page.

  1. Push content forward.

You want content as close to the customer as possible – from an architectural layer perspective as well as geographically for global businesses.

  1. High Availability (HA) systems generally support performance inherently due to horizontal scaling capabilities (that is, you can always add more hardware to the system to get more performance).

But a non HA system (such as an EFP system) in the mix can totally ruin speed. You would be surprised how often non-HA systems need to be involved in a commerce transaction. Isolating those systems behind an asynchronous integration is a good practice if you can’t remove it all together.

Depending on your business, these improvements can increase revenue and improve the digital experience for your customers.


This article was written by Matt Dion, VP of Marketing at Elastic Path.

Reprinted by permission.

Image credit: CC by Maria Elena

About the author: Linda Bustos

As Director of Ecommerce Research at Elastic Path, Linda Bustos works with some of the world’s largest companies to help improve conversion rates and profitability on the Web. In addition to writing the Get Elastic blog since 2007, Linda’s articles have appeared in Mobile Marketer, CMO Magazine, E-Marketing + Commerce, and Search Marketing Standard. She is a frequent speaker at industry events, including XCommerce, Conversion Conference, and Affiliate Management Days.

In 2010, Linda earned a spot on the DMNews Top 30 Direct Marketers Under 30 list. She has served as faculty for the Banff New Media Institute’s Career Accelerator Program and Marketing Profs University, and has appeared as one of the Top 100 Influential Marketers of the year in 2008 and 2009. Prior to joining Elastic Path, Linda worked agency-side, specializing in usability and SEO.

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