It is no secret that ecommerce is a colossal market in Asia Pacific. Fueled by the proliferation of smart devices and digital technologies in the region, the ecommerce industry is slated for further growth, reaching over US$3 trillion by 2021, according to eMarketer. This has significantly shaped the way consumers search, browse and make purchases online, especially as demand continues to flourish.
Consumers now access ecommerce sites from all across the globe, through a gamut of devices, and expect high quality website performance each time. In our ‘State of the User Experience’ report, we found that most consumers will abandon a website that loads slowly, and switch to a competitor’s website to make a purchase if a webpage takes too long to load. In an industry that is highly saturated and largely competitive, looking for an alternative website is no longer a challenge for consumers. Online retailers therefore have to ensure they consistently deliver instant, reliable and secure access to their websites.
Consumers are becoming increasingly impatient with slow websites, and performance issues and downtime can have a major impact on brand perception and customer loyalty. Even the slightest of delays could reduce website traffic significantly over time, and the inability to get applications deployed quickly anywhere in the world can severely limit business opportunities.
To maximize customer conversion and revenue, online retailers need to deliver the best possible web experiences to their consumers. Keeping consumers on the website requires the web infrastructure to deliver every piece of content quickly and securely to serve consumers anywhere. While this points to the need for online retailers to prioritize the optimization of web experiences and accelerate website performance to keep consumers engaged, how do they do so without compromising the security of their website and customer data?
Meeting Demands for Low Latency
Speed remains at the core of web performance, and this can be easily addressed through the use of a Content Delivery Network (CDN) – a geographically distributed group of servers which work together to provide fast delivery of web content. Using highly efficient edge-caching technology and the latest protocols, a CDN can deliver complex web content while dramatically reducing response times, ensuring websites are delivered to consumers with fast page load times.
In addition to accelerating webpage loading, online retailers also have to ensure they are delivering specific content in the correct format to all devices. Consumers are increasingly turning to mobile devices for online shopping and expect the same fast performance and capabilities, regardless of whether they are accessing a website on a desktop or a smartphone. However, delivering content to desktops, mobile browsers, and dedicated mobile applications adds complexity to the web infrastructure because each device supports different capabilities. This requires online retailers to develop and deliver multiple versions of their content.
This can be achieved through device identification capabilities, which allows businesses to configure actions and customize content by device, ensuring a superior consumer experience. The result is an exceptional and personalized experience on virtually any device, anywhere.
Facing Competition Head On
As the industry becomes increasingly saturated, online retailers must take measured steps to ensure their website stands out from the competition. They are expected to deliver optimized and personalized shopping experiences on any device, wherever and whenever the customer chooses. This includes engaging consumers with personalized content, great images, and useful information that cuts through the clutter.
We found that customers have higher engagement with websites that offer video and other rich media content that allows them to learn about products and see them in action prior to purchase.
While delivering the best web experiences to consumers is vital, it is equally, if not more, important to ensure security of web sites.
Online retailers are now processing web pages of increasing size and complexity due to the greater number of objects and content types. Coupled with large volumes of customer data, this could cause the business to be susceptible to cyberattacks, and could spell trouble if not properly managed.
For instance, downtime and slowdowns from Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks can render an online retailer’s website and services unavailable for hours, or even days, resulting in a loss of revenue for the business. On the other hand, hacking and other security breaches can expose customer data and negatively impact consumer confidence as well as brand reputation. This creates the need for a large and distributed network to protect web infrastructure against most attacks before they ever reach the servers.
It is therefore key to implement a CDN that offers Web Application Firewall (WAF) protection to help secure web pages by detecting and blocking attacks at the network edge in real-time while ensuring the integrity and security of sensitive transaction data such as customers’ credit card or account information. If accompanied by high-capacity on-network DDoS scrubbing, businesses can deliver superior web performance, even during the largest attacks.
The Way Forward
Consumers expect fast, flawless, and secure online experiences on any device in any location, every time. As more consumers get connected to the web and increase their time spent online, online retailers will face increasing pressure to cater to the rapidly changing expectations of their customers. This challenge is compounded by the geographical dispersion of consumers around the world, accessing websites on any platform twenty-four-seven.
Choosing the right technology provider is therefore an integral part of the equation in delivering the best web experiences. It is important to work with a partner with the knowledge and experience to help keep up with changing business and technology requirements, and ensure web optimisation and security challenges are addressed.