The COVID pandemic has caused Amazon’s business to boom, but it’s busted the bottom line of traditional retailers. With everyone working and buying things from home, most retailers have taken a significant hit in revenue due to a steep decline in brick and mortar sales.
And it hasn’t just affected mom and pop shops: Few retailers — even Fortune 500 retailers — have been prepared to support such a large majority of their business through their e-commerce platform.
In the past, August has been a strong month for retailers due to students heading back to school in need of new supplies, clothes, etc. However, the pandemic has nullified much of that revenue since so many states have mandated remote education for the foreseeable future. Retailers essentially have one chance to rake in revenue this year: the holiday shopping season.
With the holiday season rapidly approaching, traditional retailers have little time to improve their e-commerce platforms if they want to survive to 2021. Simply put, the Black Friday to Christmas period is the make-or-break moment for many retailers — and they’ll have to do it all online against Amazon.
Amazon has infrastructure to support their online shopping business that virtually no other retailer has. This infrastructure enriches Amazon’s shopping experience in many important ways. But when it comes to the end user’s POV, the primary benefit is simple: speed.
E-commerce speeds have a direct, measurable impact on revenues. Roughly 90% of customers will abandon online shopping experiences if page load time averages 3 seconds or longer, and 70% of those customers will never return to the website. The average e-commerce site has a staggering desktop page load time 4.7 seconds. Amazon clocks in at just 2.7 seconds.
So how can retailers compete with Amazon? The answer is performance bots. Bots often come with a negative connotation for many people, and for most of history, bots have been used maliciously. However, today bots are also being leveraged for good, such as drastically improving e-commerce speeds.
E-commerce performance bots work by observing an online retailer’s users to learn how they behave with complete precision. For example, they come to understand that when a user adds a certain pair of shoes to their cart, they’re then likely to also add a specific brand of socks.
Once trained, the bots can anticipate user interactions like these, working ahead of customers to request and load content before the user has to, significantly reducing page load times. Such bots have been shown to reduce e-commerce page load time below 500 milliseconds, delivering up to 10X faster speeds than Amazon.
The best thing about these performance bots is that they can be adopted easily by retailers without any configuration changes or adding new code. The process can easily be completed within hours.
Retailers are in dire straits these days. They must support most of their business through their e-commerce platform rather than their brick-and-mortar locations. And that means they have to take on Amazon.
Time is ticking and many more retailers will go out of business if they don’t drive enough revenue during the holiday season. The use of website acceleration bots is an easy way for these retailers to not only level the playing field, but also gain an advantage over Amazon in an area that matters most for online shoppers: page load speed.
James Brear is CEO of Zycada and has proven experience driving high-growth startups to successful outcomes. Prior to joining Zycada, James was CEO of Veriflow which was sold to VMWare in August 2019.