Delivering the Bloomreach Experience at the Speed of Layer0
In this post, Adebiyi Adedotun from Layer0 delves into the changing landscape of eCommerce and how the combination of Bloomreach and Layer0 is the perfect recipe for faster, personalized revenue generating eCommerce sites.
The fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic on eCommerce was a meteoric rise in brand revenue and incremental sales. In 2019, Forrester and Bloomreach found that a mere 9% of firms experienced a double-digit growth in digital revenue as opposed to a shocking 83% in 2020.
Digital Commerce sales in the US are projected to continue rising, and surpass the $1 trillion milestone in 2022. Brands are taking careful note of this trend and are investing in eCommerce tools, technologies, and architectures, to prepare themselves for a new frontier and get in on the boom.
The opportunity cost of customer satisfaction
Unlocking growth in digital commerce can be a challenge. There are both technical implementation details and non-technical details developers and business leaders need to hash out. Overall their utmost efforts would need to converge in the experience and functionality of their sales channels or touchpoints, where they are closest to potential customers or buyers.
While websites are the most important channel in driving customer engagement and incremental sales, buyers are experiencing a strained relationship with them. A disappointing digital experience, one void of personalization, and slow site speed, causes only about a third of buyers to be completely satisfied with their research or purchase experience on direct websites.
In an Instapage Survey, 74% of respondents said they feel frustrated when a site isn't personalized, and data shows that 64% of large organizations are beginning to create bespoke touchpoints across different channels to cater for the users' eCommerce needs. Gartner analysts have even predicted that site personalization could increase business profits by up to 15%.
Improving buyers' digital commerce experience will not only make every visit personal and improve customer satisfaction, but also help reduce bounce rate and increase conversion rate, setting brands up for success in the new eCommerce sales profitability frontier.
The Bloomreach Experience
With 74% of buyers facing challenges during their purchase, it is clear that brands are missing the mark on product information. Buyers want product images, clear pricing, detailed product info, and product availability. Buyers also expect a personalized shopping experience with a fast and seamless checkout process.
Bloomreach is a commerce-specific digital platform that enables brands to deliver incredible, revenue-driving experiences through three key pillars:
Engagement: Bloomreach unifies customer data, artificial intelligence, marketing automation and conversion rate optimization in one platform.
Discovery: Product and content search, merchandising, SEO, and recommendations are in one place, backed by an AI engine built with more than a decade of data.
Content: A headless content platform has the APIs and flexibility to power any front end while retaining powerful personalization and authoring capabilities.
The Bloomreach solution combines the power of unified customer and product data with the speed, scaled AI and predictive decisioning. Then with the dataset, it builds personalized eCommerce experiences, so brands can deliver magical experiences that convert on any channel and every journey.
Catering for buyers' needs is catering for every step in the sales funnel and these would require different technologies, tools, and architecture. One of the biggest ways commerce companies are upholding and accelerating digital transformation, and getting the best-of-breed technologies, is by moving to a headless architecture. As a matter of fact, Gartner named headless or API-based eCommerce as one of the Top 10 digital commerce trends of 2020.
The headless architecture encourages a decoupled approach to modern web development, one where different technologies are interconnected by APIs. This leads to more customization, flexibility, scalability and agility.
Developers play an important role in this modern approach to web development. The onus to choose and piece different tools and technologies together to form a coherent whole that serves business goals is on them. These tools will need to have a lower barrier to entry and learning point, as well as be reliable, customizable, flexible, affordable, and easy to integrate.
Decision makers will need to put their money where their mouth is. A Bloomreach powered eCommerce site will improve the digital commerce experience for buyers and in turn this can vastly benefit from being delivered to them at the speed of Layer0.
Layer0: Instant-loading sites, and a simple developer workflow
A slow site speed can result in lower site traffic, negative user experience, poor SEO rankings which can hurt a brand's bottomline. A Content Delivery Network (CDN) is a geographically distributed network of proxy servers and their data centers. Websites that use a CDN load much more quickly because they're deployed to the "edge" or closer to users.
The Layer0 CDN - EdgeJS, caches content in 86 edge locations around the world in order to store content closer to end users and intelligently prefetches and puts data into the browser 5 seconds before it’s needed. This reduces network latency and leads to instant loading sites.
On top of the speed it provides, Layer0 is a platform that offers a simple developer workflow in an infrastructure to run your big, dynamic website frontend and is uniquely positioned to develop, deploy and preview large, database-driven websites from the ground up.
Now let's take a look at how brands can deliver their Bloomreach powered eCommerce website at the speed of Layer0.
How Layer0 speeds up your Bloomreach powered eCommerce site
Digital commerce websites are typically large – with assets like product images and invariably dynamic content tailored towards different buyers. Layer0’s CDN was built from the ground up for large and dynamic websites.
EdgeJS is highly configurable and programmable within the application code. Let’s explore three techniques of EdgeJS and how it improves website performance:
Static content often changes infrequently or predictably, such as About pages, headers, and footers, and are the primary motivation for CDNs. eCommerce websites are hybrids, containing both static and dynamic content.
Layer0’s EdgeJS extends the capabilities of a traditional CDN like Cloudflare or Akamai, with additional features and optimizations which helps it achieve a 95% cache hit rate for dynamic data. This means personalized pages and data are ready before buyers taps on a link.
EdgeJS also maximizes for an effective cache hit ratio by attempting to fulfill requests from a single global L2 cache point-of-presence (POP) if it cannot be fulfilled from the dedicated L1 cache for all POP.
2: Intelligent or predictive prefetching
EdgeJS increases the performance of a website by pre-populating the cache or intelligently prefetching content from the origin server, it caches it on the edge, and puts it in the browser 5 seconds before the user’s request.
Prefetching is only done on content that is cached on the Layer0 network, reducing the workload on backend systems or origin servers. This causes an increase in the cache hit rate and leads to a faster content retrieval experience for users.
3: Static rendering
Layer0 allows you to specify the set of URLs that should be prerendered and cached at the edge during deployment to ensure that users get a sub-second experience when accessing your site.
Static prerendering works by sending requests to your application code and caching the result right after your site is deployed. This way, you simply build your app to implement server-side rendering and get the speed benefits of a static site for some or all of your pages.
This feature is especially useful for large, complex sites that have too many URLs to prerender without incurring exceptionally long build times.
Poor website performance equates to lower SEO
In August 2021, Google began to include a set of user-experience focused metrics, called Core Web Vitals (CWV) into the search engine algorithm. Poor site performance officially means lower rank and SEO.
Core Web Vitals exposes an evaluation of how fast, responsive, or visually stable the pages on a website are. These are great pointers to improving user experience that not only shows the interactive analysis between buyers and websites, but also if they will return.
To rank higher is to know what to measure. Layer0 Analytics provides a powerful measurement tool with Real User Monitoring that provides real-time analytics on the changes impacting a site’s Core Web Vitals.
With Layer0's RUM Analytics, you'll be able to understand the impact of your changes in minutes. You'll also be able to use Layer0's Edge based split testing to A/B test the impact of performance optimizations on Core Web Vitals.
The Pioneers of a new Frontier
"The future is already here," William Gibson wrote, "it is just not very evenly distributed."
Brands are increasingly migrating away from monolithic eCommerce systems to a headless architecture interconnected by APIs. This migration is giving brands the flexibility to customize their touchpoints to keep up with the rapid pace of eCommerce, freedom to integrate and swap out different tools when needed, and ability to build lightning-fast digital experiences for buyer’s right from the discovery phase through checkout. Delivering these experiences will put brand’s on the pedestal of success and invariably grow their bottomline.
A Bloomreach and Layer0 powered solution ensures highly performant, personalized digital experiences for customers that drive conversion rates through increased SEO, relevant content and best-in-class product discovery.
Bloomreach on Layer0 is the perfect recipe for a faster, personalized, revenue generating eCommerce site.