The last 7 years have been ground-breaking from a technology standpoint as we’ve seen the rise of mobile technology to unprecedented levels. M-commerce, or the process of using mobile devices such as smart phones and tablets to make online purchases, has now become the norm for consumer engagement. In the same way that E-commerce fueled the growth of the internet in the mid-90s and early 2000s, M-commerce is spawning a new revolution in how consumers shop for good, products, and services.
The same standards that apply to keeping your E-commerce customers happy certainly apply to your M-commerce customers. And then some! Remember that your mobile website is the key to the success of your brand and to the happiness of your customer. Consider this metric: 1 in 4 visitors would abandon a website if it takes more than 4 seconds to load. And this one: A 2-second delay during a transaction results in shopping cart abandonment rates of up to 87%.
The bottom line is this: M-commerce sites need to be always available, or at least 99.99% of the times! So let’s walk through some practical tips to help ensure that happens. In the following, we describe 6 best practices to begin adopting today in order to maximize your M-commerce website uptime.
1. Make sure your site is Mobile First
It used to be that mobile visitors were seen as the fastest growing segment of E-commerce. But the landscape has changed and mobile is now dominant across the board for consumers. Forrester reported last year that it expected mobile commerce transactions in the United States to total $114 billion in 2014. You now have to think strategically in terms of M-commerce, and you absolutely must be Mobile First. The paradigm of making traditional desktop websites responsive for mobile devices must now be switched. The strategy should be to code for mobile users first and then progressively enhance the experience for tablets and desktops. Doing so will help reduce the number of unnecessary dependencies.
2. Reduce initial page load time
3. Try a mobile CDN
4. Leverage mobile testing
Just as you would with any website, it’s important to test your mobile applications and infrastructure. Testing is an important way to mitigate risk. It provides insurance for your customer’s happiness, not to mention your own sanity and business bottom-line. Putting your applications through the paces with large sets of test data will help to continually improve overall mobile performance.
5. Don’t let third party providers ruin your user experience
Websites and mobile apps today are increasingly integrated with third party content: social media, chat features, commenting services, information feeds, payment services, and more. In the event the third-party crashes you don’t want your application held up trying to load that resource. Effective monitoring of Third Party Content should be a necessary part of your larger mobile application performance management (mAPM) strategy.
6. Make redirects cacheable
Caching is a mechanism for the temporary storage of web pages in order to reduce bandwidth and improve performance. When a visitor arrives at your website the cached version will be served up unless it has changed since the last cache. This saves server time and makes things altogether faster. Mobile pages rely on a lot of redirects from one URL to another, replacing “www” with “m.” To avoid getting bogged down and speed up the page load time, caching will be your best friend. But also keep in mind that caching storage on mobile devices is much less than on desktops, so ultimately it’s best to keep redirects to a minimum and serve up pages to the user directly.