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eCommerce Speed vs Revenue Calculator

There have been a lot of articles recently about the effects of your eCommerce shop speed vs potential revenue loss. In fact, we even posted one earlier this year.

But when you are reading those numbers, it can be hard to directly relate it to your business. That is why here at Znode, we have created a Website Speed vs Revenue calculator to show you how much your site’s speed could be costing you.

Here is a recap of the statistics:

  • Nearly half of web users expect a site to load in 2 seconds or less
  • 79% of shoppers who experience website trouble say they won’t return to the website and purchase again, and 44% of those people said they would tell a friend about their poor experience
  • A 1-second delay in page response can result in a 7% reduction in conversions

The example we’re sure many of you has seen is if an eCommerce site is making $100,000 per day, a 1-second page delay could potentially cost them $2.5 million in lost sales every year.

So how does that relate to you?  We’ve created this calculator so that you can plug in your estimated annual sales and your site’s load time to determine your potential revenue loss based on the 7% figure.


Need help determining your site’s load time? Here are a few tools:

Google PageSpeed Insites – https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/

Pingdom Website Speed Test – https://tools.pingdom.com/

GTMetrix – https://gtmetrix.com/

If your site’s load time is costing you money, speak with a Znode representative today to find out how our eCommerce platform was built for speed (among other things).

eCommerce Software

SaaS vs. On-Premise eCommerce Software

SaaS versus on-premise eCommerce software: it’s a hot question. The typical answer you get is “it depends,” with several follow up questions. During our sales conversation, we tackle this question on a regular basis and through those dialogues we created three questions that will help guide your decision.  The bottom line is that both have benefits and either can work for your business, but you have to do your homework about which will fit your needs.

note: the intention of the article is not present a pro or con or show one in better than other but more so to provide tools to define your strategy

What is your budget?  It’s usually the first question when you’re in the market for a product or service.  In general, the initial investment for a SaaS is relatively inexpensive.  You sign up for the services you need and the vendor is responsible for all operations, maintenance, and software upgrades.  For on-premise, the initial investment is higher because you have to buy the software license and invest in infrastructure to install and setup the system.  The common item in both SaaS and on-premise solutions is the implementation cost.  Implementation cost depends on several factors: customer experience, operations/fulfillment, and the business roadmap.  One last point to consider when determining your budget is the total cost of ownership (TCO).  We recommend comparing a TCO for three, five, and seven years.

What is your business road map?  The business roadmap is tightly coupled with the budget because it defines what the goals are and key milestones you are planning to achieve over the next 12 to 36 months.  This is applicable for any business, whether you’re a startup or an established enterprise.  Two key aspects to define this are:

  1. How does the eCommerce channel fit in the overall ecosystem?  A general trend in the industry how revenue growth impacts procurement i.e. higher growth leans towards ownership and lower growth leans towards SaaS.

  2. Where are you in the business lifecycle?  Timing your investments is critical to success and gaining an advantage over your competitors.

In the long run, your company will need a platform to scale with your business.  If you plan to add a CRM or ERP, on-premise might be a better route because you can integrate these solutions.

What is your goal for customer experience?  Customer experience is not just the look and feel of your site.  Your business’s fulfillment (i.e. how orders are processed, communication with the customer, shipping of goods) is as important as the shopping experience the consumer has on your site.  On-premise software allows for the most customization because you typically have the most control over the system and integration with 3rd party systems like ERP, CRM, WMS, OMS, marketing automation, etc.  It allows you to quickly respond to changes in the market and offer tailored customer experiences, which is great to meet the demands of the market.  SaaS solutions offer extensions to fit similar demands.  The key takeaway is who owns the customer experience — you or your vendor.  Do you want a framework that along with the base features allows you to customize your solution or work from a template?

Shopping for an eCommerce platform can be overwhelming because the options are endless.  A strategy defined by the state of your business and where you want to be will move you in the right direction.  Both SaaS and on-premise are viable solutions delivering results of all types and size of business.  Your choice will ultimately depend on your budget, business roadmap, and customer experience goals.

Znode’s on-premise software is one solution if you go that route.  Download our product sheet here to learn more about Multifront or visit our website.

 

 

API Series: Expands and Filters

Any API is really all about one thing: data. An API needs to accept data, do something with it, then give data back. For the consumer of an API, what happens in that middle part doesn’t matter. All they care about is that they sent the API some data to work with and the API returned data to them in a format they expect. And a big part of data for an API is being able to support rich querying capabilities so that the client gets back exactly what they need. For the Znode API, this is handled by expands and filters.

Expands

The concept of expands is nothing new in API design, as many APIs support them, and even our own implementation is loosely based on the OData specification for expands. In short, expands is a way of asking for related data during the same request. For example, when retrieving a product, you might also want to get its customer reviews and any categories it belongs to. Without expands, you might have to do this in three separate calls, perhaps something like this:

GET /products/123 GET /products/123/reviews GET /products/123/categories

But with expands, you can consolidate those three calls into one, like so:

GET /products/123?expand=reviews,categories

You can chain as many expands together as you need, simply use a comma to separate them (a configurable option we’ll cover in a later post). And that’s the big benefit of expands – to eliminate extraneous API calls that you can otherwise handle with one call.

Filters

Similar to expands, filters were also roughly based on their OData specification. Using filters allow you to retrieve only the data that satisfies an expression; think of filters as the WHERE clause in a SQL statement. For example, you might want to retrieve a list of products that have a retail price greater than $5.00. With filters, the URL request would look like this:

GET /products?filter=retailprice~gt~5.00

Also like expands, you can chain filters together. For example, you want to retrieve a list of products that have a retail price greater than $5.00, but only for products whose name starts with the letter A. The request for that would look like this:

GET /products?filter=retailprice~gt~5.00,name~sw~A

Filter expressions are basically tuples that consist of the following format:

key~operator~value

The tilde character (~) is used as the default separator between key/operator/value, while the comma is used to separate multiple filter expressions (both of which are configurable). Below is the list of currently supported filter operators:

Operator Description Example
eq Equal to GET /products?filter=name~eq~apple
ne Not equal to GET /products?filter=name~ne~apple
cn Contains GET /products?filter=name~cn~pea
gt Greater than GET /products?filter=retailprice~gt~4.99
ge Greater than or equal to GET /products?filter=retailprice~ge~5.00
lt Less than GET /products?filter=retailprice~lt~5.00
le Less than or equal to GET /products?filter=retailprice~le~4.99
sw Starts with GET /products?filter=name~sw~app
ew Ends with GET /products?filter=name~ew~pple

Filters in the Znode API can also be used to query for nullable items by using a “null” value for the eq (equal to) and ne (not equal to) operators, as such:

GET /products?filter=externalid~eq~null GET /products?filter=externalid~ne~null

Powerful and Flexible

When it comes to querying data from an API, expands and filters are important because it gives clients great power and flexibility for how they want to retrieve data, and the Znode API has very robust expand and filter capabilities.

A Unified Experience for Content and eCommerce

In today’s world, there are two things that drive the continued growth of the Internet: content and eCommerce. The phrase “content is king” has never been truer; after all, people find you online with great content that ranks well in the major search engines. But if content is king, then eCommerce sits by his side as the queen. However, the union between King Content and Queen eCommerce isn’t always rosy. For many websites, a big problem in the content-eCommerce relationship is that managing content and managing eCommerce is a vastly different experience.

Data This, Data That

Think about the data for content. Items such as titles, headlines, content bodies, section headers, authors, and revisions are just some of the common components. Contrast that with eCommerce data where products, catalogs, prices, SKUs, gift cards, promotions, payments, shipping, billing, orders, and taxes are at the forefront. With the data sets being so different between content and eCommerce, products built around managing that data do so from different points of view. Content management systems are all about writing large amounts of text, while eCommerce systems take a more spreadsheet-like approach (albeit a very complex spreadsheet). Because of this, rarely will you find a platform that handles both equally well, which is why there are separate market segments for content management systems and eCommerce systems.

Experience Is Everything

What this is really all about is the entire user experience. The nature of their data dictates that the experience for managing content is different from the experience for managing eCommerce. For many companies, this also means additional personnel and training. And that translates to more cost. But does it always have to be that way? Can the two be brought together in a seamless, unified experience?

Hard At Work

At Znode, that’s a question we’ve been working hard to answer for most of this year. We know that content and eCommerce go hand-in-hand, and with Sitecore being the clear leader in the .NET enterprise CMS space, we set out to provide a solution that makes people feel at home managing eCommerce data in the Sitecore environment. Native integration with an eCommerce platform is the one piece Sitecore has been missing – until now. The Znode Commerce Engine for Sitecore fills this gap with a completely integrated solution that unifies Sitecore’s Customer Engagement Platform with Znode’s Multifront eCommerce platform. The experience between managing content and managing eCommerce in Sitecore is now the same.

True Integration

We’re not throwing around the words “integration” and “unified” loosely, as we aren’t simply talking about embedded iframes within Sitecore. We’re talking about Sitecore users and developers feeling at home in the environment that they’re used to working in. As the Znode Commerce Engine for Sitecore was developed, keeping a consistent and expected Sitecore user experience was paramount to its overall design. If something felt too “non-Sitecore”, then it was reworked until it had that at-home feel. The result is a deep integration between the Sitecore CEP and Znode Multifront that gives users a seamless workflow for managing their content and eCommerce catalog.

The API Is Where It’s At

The key to this tight integration is the Znode API. The Znode API is an extremely robust RESTful set of services that allows you to integrate the Znode Multifront platform with nearly any application. The Znode API exposes all data and functionality required to build a highly scalable eCommerce solution, in this case, the Znode Commerce Engine for Sitecore.

Data Flow Made Easy

The component in the Znode Commerce Engine for Sitecore that utilizes the Znode API is the Znode Data Connector, which allows you to easily map and translate data between the Sitecore CEP and Znode Multifront. The connector can even be extended to map data from other back office systems, thus making overall integration even better.

Just the Beginning

And we’re just getting started. As good as the Znode Commerce Engine for Sitecore is now, there are big plans in the works to continue to raise the bar when it comes to managing content and eCommerce together. Like we said, the experience is everything, and we’re working closely with Sitecore to ensure users and developers continue to get the unified experience they deserve. For a brief demonstration on data importing and mapping for the Znode/Sitecore connector, watch the Multifront Sitecore Connector Overview video. To learn more about the Znode/Sitecore unified content and eCommerce experience, download the Enterprise eCommerce Integration for the Sitecore CEP Platform Infographic.

Photo by Sean MacEntee