What is Page Speed and Why it is important

People usually get irritated if the website takes too long to respond. No one has got a spare time, especially when it comes to web pages that take much time to get loaded.

When the user gets his/her desired web-page loaded quickly it creates a favorable influence on his/her mind.

Waiting for a website to get loaded be like…

Tech giant Google considers website’s loading speed as a ranking factor and that’s why we should work to reduce our websites loading pace. Slow sites are likely to pay the price in terms of lower search ranking.

Also, nowadays in this competitive environment, page loading speed becomes one of the essential factors for all the websites.

Further discussion is about, why each second is essential for a web-page to get loaded?

 

IMPORTANCE OF EACH SECOND :

Here are some facts and stats from well-known sources :

  • A 1-second delay in page response can result in a 7% reduction in conversions.
  • A 1 second delay in page load time means 11% loss of page views.
  • 47% of user expect a web page to load in 2 seconds or less.

  • Just guess if an e-commerce site is making $100,000 per day, a 1-second page delay could potentially cost $2.5 million in lost sales every year.If your website takes longer than three seconds to load, you could be losing nearly half of your visitors, according to data from Akamai.

It is clear from the above paragraphs that why page-speed is important for a website. Now let’s see what precisely page-speed is and how does it work.

 What is Page Speed?

Let’s suppose you type a URL xyz.com and clicked enter, now the time your web page takes to fully display the content (images, videos, design…) on the requested web browser that is referred as “Page-Speed”.

The basic definition says Page-Speed is a measurement of how fast the content on your web-page loads.

HOW?

How can we measure website’s page-speed?

-Several tools are available on the internet, in that you just need to enter the URL, then the tool will analyze the content of webpage by its own algorithms and will give you results out of 100. Results are based on the how fast is the webpage on the requesting web browser.

Here are some well know web-page speed tools available. Google PageSpeed Insights, Pingdom, GTmetrix and many more.

Let’s know in short how Google’s analyzing tool works.

Gif of “Google’s” website page-speed score

-First, open the link.

-You will be asked to enter the web-page URL.

-Once it is done, then click the “Analyze” button.

-After analyzing it will provide you the results.

 

Score            Review

80-100           Good

60-80             Needs Work

60>             Poor

The results are calculated for both Mobile and Desktop viewing. This tool will suggest you some possible optimizations, for making it more rapid.

Everyone loves a fast site. Here are some ways to speed up your website:

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  Minify CSS, JavaScript, and HTML

Optimize your code (by removing spaces, shortening up the long variables names into a single variable, and other unnecessary characters), you can effectively increase your page speed. Also remove code comments, formatting, and unused code.

 

CSS(Cascading Style Sheets):- It is a simple design language, which is mostly used to make the web page fit to be seen.

JavaScript:It is a light-weight dynamic programming language, whose implementations allow a client-side script to interact with the user and make dynamic pages.

HTML(Hyper Text Markup Language):- It is used for creating web-page, it also describes the structure of web-page. HTML elements are represented by tags<>.

Google recommends HTMLMinifier to minify HTML, CSSNano and csso to minify CSS, Closure Compiler, UglifyJS to minify JavaScript. Alternatively, the PageSpeed Module integrates with an Apache or Nginx web server to automatically optimize your site, including resource minification.

Improve server response time

The amount of time required to load the HTML document of a website from   a server is known as server response time

First, let’s see few factor that affects the server response time:

Poor web hosting  — One of the aspects of running a website is making sure that the website has a good uptime (availability). Slow Load Times, Low Security are also some of the characteristics of poor web hosting.

 

Increased trafficIf your website gets hits more than the capability of the server, it may be possible that user will experience slower response from the server or even error codes such as bandwidth limit exceeded.

 

 

Bloated webpages — It simply refers to the contents of a webpage which are not optimized properly. For ex: Oversized images, non-responsive images (compatible with both mobile and desktop), non-minified CSS/JS files etc.

 

Lack of caching — Cache memory stores data in volatile memory and delivers the content quickly. So if there is an issue in caching the content it decelerates the server.

 

 Ways to Improve Server response time:

While Apache is well known and attractive option, there are many other better options using something else, such as Nginx or OpenLiteSpeed.

There are pros and cons to each web server although Nginx has been known to offer better performance in many circumstances.

Putting in a bit of time, in the beginning, might seem troublesome task, but it will pay off later as you are better able to handle changes in your server needs.

 

Optimize Your Web Servers

Once you have chosen your web-server successfully, the web-server can be configured to increase performance. There are numerous techniques including web server caching, enabling gzip compression and setting cache headers that help reduce load per visitor.

 

 Improve Database Performance

There are various ways of optimizing database performance and it can potentially turn into a large undertaking depending on the current state of your existing database. In order to increase performance, you will need to monitor your database first. You can trace and then load it in SQL server profiler to find out which are the slowest queries. After that, you can concentrate on them.

 

  • Reduce redirects

What is redirect?

Redirects are instructions or methods that robotically take user of one file, to another file or location. Which means your page-speed would get affected.

How does it affect page speed?

“Have you ever asked someone where a restaurant is and when you reach the location you find that, the mentioned restaurant has been shifted to some other location? ” It is just like that.

Redirects cause your pages to load slower because it is a wasted effort to go to one place just to be redirected to another.

Everything has its own pros and cons. There are many good and legitimate reasons to have redirects but it should be kept in mind that redirects cause substantial performance and speed issues.

 Use a content distribution network

content delivery network (CDN) is a system of distributed servers (network) that deliver pages and other Web content to a user, based on the geographic locations of the user, the origin of the webpage and the content delivery server.

 

CDN improves the performance, security, and reliability of a website. CDN is useful for distributing the static content of your websites like images and videos and put them in a location closer to the people you are serving the content.

Optimize Image

As a general thumb rule, larger file takes a longer time to load than the smaller files. Yes, that’s true high-quality images makes the good visual experience on the website, but at the same time it degrades the page speed and agitating visitors eagerly waiting for the web page to load.

Some of the ways to optimize images are as follows:-

-Choosing Image

-Images that you select for your content must be related to the text of the article.

-Good quality, with correct aspect ratio and size large enough to be visible on all the device’s screen.

     –Decrease the size of the image

There are numerous offline and online tools available for image editing, which decreases the image file size.

Adobe’s online image editing application photoshop.com doesn’t have all the capabilities but it covers all the basic of image editing and doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.

Other impressive online image editing tools are PicMonkey, Pixlr, FotoFlexer.

Use Image sitemap, How to handle your thumbnails, Know Which Image File Type to Use for the Right Situations are some ways to optimize the image.

 

Conclusion:

Now I hope, it would be pretty much clear about, why page load speed is an important criterion for your web page, what happens if your page speed is slow, and how you can improve your page-speed.

If you haven’t optimized your Web page Speed yet, start on it today.

 

Which of these techniques are you going to use, to increase your website’s page loading speed?

 

 

How E-Retailers Manage Inventory and Fulfillment Across All Outlets

 

Few retail brands have managed to build empires by making the most of both local and cross-border commerce deals. Global brands do not dominate by fluke. In fact, they have to weave an intricate web of strategy, manage the system and even bring about perfect execution. They are required to deliver goods to consumers exactly when they need it.

Managing inventory effectively and efficiently is one of the prime concerns of all retailers, regardless of time zones or channels. Even if common challenges like language, currency and geographical distance are put aside, it is important to manage the inventory considering cultural differences and overall brand perceptions, making it a complicated affair.

Retailers who deal with cross-border commerce need to understand the complications and recognize consumer needs holistically and geographically too.

Regional Perceptions

Just because a brand boasts of a strong presence in one part of the world, it does not necessarily translate into quick popularity elsewhere.

For example, a U.S. based retailer might be known to offer quality brand products at low prices. But distribution issues crop up along that forced the retailer to hike prices in another country. The brand promise changes in this regard, and affects the retailer’s identity too.

Successful global brands develop strategies that support their brand promise universally while considering the varied challenges offered by these markets. They may need to chalk out another brand promise or modify its original one based on the new geographical markets.

Real-Time Insights and Transparency

Real-time visibility and insights into the inventory is challenging for most cross-border operations compared to local operations. This is because of wide customer preferences, cultural differences, geographical diversity, and much more. Retail fulfillment does not work in the sense of a one-size-fits-all model, and hence real-time data is pivotal for inventory management. Leveraging Shopify, some ecommerce solution providers have successfully delivered add-ons that aid in ensuring real-time sales insights on more levels than one.

Retailers need to optimize logistics and processes with latest tools and technologies.

  • Lidl, a European retailer consolidated its routine operations across 10000 stores in 26 countries with a robust, centralized IT system to process large data sets in real-time.
  • The synthesis of this data helps the company to fine-tune their supply chain management and also anticipate consumer preferences in any region.
  • Additionally, the central system ensures timely product availability and profitability across borders too. 

Inventory Optimization to Fulfill Demands

Beyond the required visibility into inventory, every cross-border retailer needs to optimize their operations, as one style does not fit all. Brands need to optimize inventory to sell the products effectively across multiple regions at acceptable price points too. How can one manage this?

Size, color, and style pose significant challenges especially when retailers are keen to leverage inventory across multiple geographies.

Brands optimize inventory and refine product assortments based on buying behaviors witnessed in each region. Inventory that does not sell well is promoted elsewhere or to the online channel to prevent extra stocks and price reductions. The sale is likely to happen through, if the inventory is shifted to the region where it sells well. This is tricky in terms of cross-border commerce.

For example,

  • A consumer in Ohio could order a hoodie that is stocked in Vancouver in Canada.
  • The distribution center then ships the product to the customer’s house or a pickup store in the local region.
  • But the shipment is crossing borders and hence as per compliance regulations, the retailer has to include import and export documentation, along with accurate product classification before the sale can be made.

Varied brands now take recourse to automation to expedite the product clearance through customs, and also avoid noncompliance in any measure. This automated implementation reduces costs of cross-border commerce drastically. An automated customs management system enables retailers to classify products and then calculate taxes and duties involved in selling their products beyond borders. The solution could embed import and export documentation aligned with the strict compliant standards.

Streamline your Payment Processes

When setting up cross-border commerce, retailers need to understand transaction taxes for every country with a robust system in place that can ensure that consumers are conveyed about the charges involved transparently including conversion of their local currency, taxes involved and varied cross-border fees.

A brand can meet currency challenges by stating product price in multiple currencies and languages. This is a best practice that can address the labeling problems as well as address some cross-border commerce challenges.

Conclusion

Brands must also evaluate market position when opting for cross-border commerce to any country. Those who are doing well in the U.S. may also face huge challenges when expanding into countries like Australia, India, or even China. Brands need to pay heed to local brand perceptions, implement visibility of inventory, optimize sales processes and also ensure compliance for all sorts of cross-border transactions for maximum success.

Top Five Regulatory Concerns Plaguing Cross Border Commerce in the US

Cross-border commerce in the US is booming steadily with new customers aspiring to jump on the bandwagon to boost sales and orders. With this opportunity, a network of companies and providers have come to ease up the implementation process, in terms of facilitation; logistics, payment processing, fraud identification and much more. Every process for cross-border commerce is daunting enough for retailers especially when they are mostly unaware of regulatory considerations.

Multiple parties have to work in unison to make the process of cross-border ecommerce seamless and streamlined. Every party has different understanding, reasons, motivation, and even priorities before they are completely on board. One of the biggest hurdles of cross border commerce are regulatory issues that crop up owing to the following factors:

  • Inconsistency in regulations:

At the basic level, every online business requires regulation consistency. But the challenges with the growth of ecommerce have continuously baffled regulators causing volatile changes in policies. Even in developed countries like the U.S., it is being debated whether state taxes are applicable on ecommerce transactions. The inconsistency of legal regulations is widespread in its application too.

  • Domestic incorporation:

It is a common tendency in several countries to treat domestic companies differently if they are incorporated abroad. One should incorporate locally if they are keen on selling to customers. Local customers would find such companies reliable too since they are registered locally.

  • Legal limitations to sale:

Every country prescribes the do’s and don’ts of selling and the services to be sold through cross-border commerce. Most countries consider that any transaction with minors cannot be enforceable, and legal adulthood age varies by country too. Product categories have different requirements based on the type of food, alcohol, and antiques. As part of a business, one could be held responsible for not meeting those requirements. If a country enforces a regulation of packaged food to have certain ingredients, date of manufacturing, and expiration date on its label, then it should be made mandatory. If goods are shipped from another country without meeting these regulations, your license of doing business could be suspended in violation of the laws.

  • Clarity of legal frameworks:

One is required to meet local laws but one does find it difficult to find recourse to courts when required. Several countries have a weak legal framework and even if the framework is robust, one can expect endless delays in the overall judicial process. So, even if a company wants to conduct cross-border commerce in a country like the U.S and even fulfill regulations, it might still fail to defend its legal rights succinctly.

  • Compliance Costs:

The compliance costs involved in regulation are borne by businesses for ensuring good practices. There are high costs associated with meeting consumer concerns and privacy risks. Some compliance costs ill-serves responsible businesses, which put in extra efforts and money to address privacy concerns but ultimately get provoked by unwarranted legal requirements.

Conclusion

The above regulatory concerns need to be addressed before implementing full-scale cross-border commerce operations in any country including the US. The regulations, as well as the tax structure, need to be adhered to, for smooth performance of such operations.

The Role of Artificial Intelligence in Organizing Cross-border Commerce Translations

E-commerce translations are important in the present scenario of cross-border e-commerce since localization is possible only when local languages are considered for product descriptions.

Depending on inventory and its volatility, dealing with translations on your own can be quite a task.

But in reality, one does not really have to go through the hassles today. With automation and translation tools for ecommerce, it is evident that the development of Artificial Intelligence (AI) has transformed machines to be more human than before.

Cross-border commerce & machine translation

The Rise of Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence indicates the simulation of intelligent behavior in machines for rendering complex tasks, and with reduced human supervision.

Machine learning is an intrinsic part of AI, wherein algorithms break down data, learn from it and then make fact-based predictions. These machines can be trained likewise to perform complex tasks.

Now coming back to international e-commerce, sellers are forced to handle manual work, match product categories, features, sizes, and so forth on a daily basis. But in recent years with big data analysis and AI, product tagging is now handled on a much larger scale owing to raw descriptions that aid AI to localize entire content, map the category, extract features or even transform sizes.

Now some vendors have introduced machine learning and machine translation, as previously humans were prone to make multiple critical errors despite companies hiring professional and trained translators. Now machines are taught to convert sizes based on diverse brands. Size conversion accuracy is now nearly pitch-perfect too. Mixing human expertise with machine learning has helped in accurately localizing product listings and maintaining consistent quality.

Role of AI & automation in international commerce!

Automation has benefitted retailers in a huge way, as many spend less time on managing catalogue and more time on clearing chinks from their business strategy, thus delivering great buyer experience.

  • Reliable automation solutions with rules and exceptions: Automatic solutions may work automatically, but creating a reliable automation-based solution is quite complex. Experts suggest that automation is not a straightforward task since one must make sure the machine understands specific rules and exceptions on a consistent basis. For example, machines shouldn’t avoid translating brand names. Otherwise, one is sure to experience hilarious effects since the brand name will be translated into different languages and named differently in diverse contexts.
  • Recognize exceptions to avoid problems: The role of AI is to teach the specific tool to recognize exceptions and avoid any faulty translation. To account for such scenarios, a human brain can teach the machine to perform the above task efficiently, correctly and precisely. A perfect blend of both machines and humans is necessary for optimal ecommerce translation. Humans carry wide knowledge but machines are fast and consistent. Technology combined with human factor can produce great results for the industry.
  • Identify right words based on SEO: The machine should also identify the right words to deliver ideal listing translations. Simply recognizing words and phrases or combining them will not suffice. The products should also contain keywords that would help in its sales too. Some things are referred to, by different words. The word you decide for use makes a huge difference considering conversion rates. For example, some online buyers might search for ‘trousers’ while some might search the same thing with keyword ‘pants’. Depending on location and language used, one of them might win over the other. Thorough e-commerce data analysis could establish the right keywords that will maximize sales of a given product.
  • Titles are of huge importance: All searchable terms on a platform owe much to the efficient titles. Use of big data techniques to examine the titles would help in correlating words/synonyms with revenue. Selecting the right words can boost transactions in more ways than one.

Using an AI-based e-commerce translation service

An ideal AI-based translation solution will leverage an AI-based, natural language processing solution to deliver affordable and automated translation efficiently. Some plugins connect to the domestic marketplace account, extracting product categories, titles, product descriptions and feature lists.

The process involves analysis of product to be localized, structure assessment, extraction of localizable components, inferences of important attributes etc. The elements of the product are localized according to the marketplace needs, length limitations, category, and sellers’ preferences.

The custom process can be fully automated with translation software tools that are based on adaptive machine translation.

Additionally, the translation systems learn from human feedback in a self-improving loop, and with time will need minimal human intervention.

Automatic translation has its own share of benefits in terms of speed and efficiency. For merchants who thrive on cross-border commerce in international markets and who need to change inventory on a regular basis, slow translation also entails losses in sales potential.

Conclusion

If you think literary descriptions of a product will guarantee successful sales, it is time to reconsider. Lengthy, full-sentence descriptions are useless without product attributes. Buyers are always looking for great product offers. The attributes and keywords form the core of strong and optimal e-commerce translation.

Automatic translation solutions might not be the norm for cross-border commerce in many e-stores, the immense growth in machine translation solutions will help boost revenue for many, who jump the bandwagon soon. A cross-border trade partner can also optimize translation processes and costs with efficient return-on-investment too.

Top mid-market considerations for cross-border commerce

For mid-market brands, it is tough to prevail in many global markets since they are saturated with similar products. In this case, a full market evaluation before launch of cross-border is required, to identify competitors, take note of their activities, take note of what they fail to do and even understand the direction of the market and its perfect fit.

Winning globally for most companies is to acquire market share and retain customer interest consistently. Here are the top mid-market considerations for cross-border commerce that will ensure its success:

  • Make Technology an Enabler of Success

Automation is the key to be lean in international selling, with enough team time and space for promoting innovation.

Here are a few workflows for automation:

  1. Email Marketing – Create audience segments, and revisit them seasonally to ensure the pitch is aligned with brand messaging and as per the regional sensibilities.
  2. Product Information Management – Invest in a streamlined product information management (PIM) system to manage local content that will increase as you scale your operations. Be sure to include a repository for product information, content and media. Keep each country’s product catalog and content separated from each other.
  3. Order Processing – Do not let countries and markets get disintegrated into silos. Invest in connecting channels with strategic planning across the organization. One can even invest in ERP solutions or Shopify to get the order processing streamlined.

  • Defining Key Domains – Product Delivery, Logistics and Shipping

The core foundation of cross-border commerce is ensuring product delivery in-country. Logistics should be a vital function that needs to be addressed right from the first day. Mid-market merchants do it themselves, using warehouses or ship from a warehouse. Some use an affiliate, for the same.

Shipping shouldn’t affect profit margins. Hence it is important to localize management efforts with a dedicated resource on the ground within the region. When evaluating hiring personnel, do check how professionals understand building global teams. A key stakeholder in the place with global experience is useful in this regard.

Managing global resources from long distances means that there should be constant communication between stakeholders about the product, the brand’s tone, marketing message, vision, and the like so that specialists can mitigate any issues with localization with brand experience.

The in-country team needs to be conveyed about company’s top-level goals and how the market can help meet the goals.

Conclusion

Adequate localization, key stakeholders in-country, a local logistics provider with affordable shipping, and other regional factors need to be in place for mid-market organizations who are looking for success in cross-border commerce.

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