As the cyber weekend approaches, mobile demand drives the need for speed

Date: 3rd October 2016
Author: Louise Arnold

How will mobile performance impact your conversions?

Mobile pushes the Black Friday buttons

Last year’s Black Friday pre-Christmas sales window not only broke the previous year’s revenue record but established an exciting new benchmark for mobile.

Mobile speed costs salesAccording to The Drum, not only was mobile responsible for 60% of Black Friday web traffic but also accounted for more than 40% of the estimated £1.1bn-worth of online sales. Pretty impressive figures – except that around a quarter of ecommerce sites weren’t able to cash in on the surge in demand because of outages or downtime, including big players such as Boots, Argos and John Lewis.

With mobile fast becoming the dominant online sales medium, retailers face a pressing need to deliver a customer experience that is optimised for mobile use to ensure higher conversion rates – and, at the same time, reinforce positive brand values.

The need for mobile speed – from the gospel of Google

Last month, Google released a report highlighting the need for retailers to urgently address issues of speed in order to satisfy mobile shoppers’ demand for quick and efficient page loading.
google-need-for-mobile-speedGoogle evaluated over 10,000 mobile web domains and used the data they harvested to work out what components affected speed for mobile users and how delays impacted user engagement and revenue. The findings were unequivocal. Over half of all mobile sites were abandoned if the page didn’t load within three seconds – and yet, three out of four mobile sites took longer than ten seconds to load, with the average load time being 19 seconds.

It doesn’t take a genius to work out that lots of businesses are losing tonnes of trade because their websites are just too slow to respond.

Measure mobile experience and optimise now

Google’s findings confirm the research undertaken by SciVisum on last year’s Black Friday which suggests that retailers are lagging dangerously behind the curve. Throughout the crucial cyber weekend, we monitored the add-to-basket journeys of ten top UK retailers. The results showed that many leading retailers lost sales due to slow, inadequate for interrupted mobile experience – our Black Friday UK mcommerce performance report makes essential reading.


Round-the-clock visibility of your customers’ mobile experience will be a critical component in assuring the best results during times of peak demand. Only by walking in your shoppers’ virtual footsteps will you be able to accurately identify issues, analyse root causes and quickly fix problems before they impact your bottom line.

Is your current performance monitoring and testing regime realistic enough to deliver the sophisticated online experience shoppers expect?

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Some tips for enhancing your site’s mobile performance

Some key factors that slow down mobile load times involve file size, element order and server requests. The ads, images, videos and measurement technology on a site also weigh it down with excess data and requests.

  • Strip back your site to a ‘vanilla’ version that focuses on key functionality.
  • Reduce page weighting by removing non-essential page elements and compressing images – start by optimising images for mobile screens.
  • Minify JavaScript and CSS.
  • Consider how your site loads content, ads and analytics – rather than loading all the elements at once, prioritise the resources that are visible first.
  • Think about using deferred or asynchronous loading technologies.
  • Optimise server side by examining caching, pre-rendering and CDNs
  • Regularly audit tags on your site, flagging and removing anything that adds latency.
  • Monitor mobile performance 24/7 to identify and remedy issues before they impact your customers.

Bridge the mobile gap – and quickly!

That people expect an increasingly speedy service from their retailers is becoming self-evident. If shoppers encounter obstacles when trying to browse and buy on mobile, they won’t persevere but will quickly shift their custom – and loyalty – to a different brand.

Mobile sites that respond to the call for smooth and fast page loading – especially during peak sales period such as Black Friday – benefit shoppers and retailers alike. Which means that businesses need to optimise their sites and constantly monitor mobile performance to ensure they continue to deliver the best user experience possible.

Find out what you can do right now to prepare for Black Friday 2016 by downloading SciVisum’s mcommerce report 2015, running through our Black Friday checklist, browsing blogs on mobile performance and Black Friday stats or by visiting our mobile monitoring service page.