The eCommerce customer journey is complex. Online, the average shopper spends just over three minutes on a retailer’s website browsing through 6 pages. In stores, “showrooming” and other online-offline interactions are the norm.

This complex journey includes a multitude of diverse customer acquisition channels that make it difficult for eCommerce professionals to connect the dots between product discovery, consideration, and purchase. Thankfully, there is one common thing among eCommerce websites: the majority of both traffic and revenue originates from search.

The average retailer sees 60% of its website traffic and 55% of the eCommerce revenue coming in from a combination of organic and paid campaigns on Google. With such a strong influence on revenue, it is imperative that eCommerce professionals understand what’s important to the search giant, and if there is one thing that Google focuses on, it is website speed.

Google has been emphasizing website speed for years, and as of late 2018, the search giant is incorporating mobile website speed as a determining factor for both search ranking (SEO) and website Quality Score (SEM). The search giant has gone beyond algorithmic changes and has developed tools to facilitate and measure website speed optimization, notably the Speed Index, Impact Calculator, and Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) technology.

AMP is a technology built for speed, and as such, Google has recommended sending search users to AMP content at landing for speedy first-page loads. Then, transition users to a Progressive Web App (PWA) for instant browsing through subsequent pages. This way consumers enjoy an enhanced experience of lightning-fast first-page loads as well as instant page transitions.

Unfortunately, combining AMP and PWA is tricky. The two technologies are as different as night and day and often enterprise eCommerce websites find themselves having to maintain what are effectively two separate websites - one written in React and another in AMP HTML.

Non-search traffic (direct, email, referrals, display ads, etc.) becomes more prominent as the brand grows. And most enterprise eCommerce websites have a larger share of traffic and revenue attributed to non-search channels than to search. For these channels, Server-Side Rendering (SSR) is key to ensuring speedy first-page loads and decreasing bounce rates to the bare minimum. However, none of the leading eCommerce platforms support SSR, and adding SSR after the fact is cumbersome as it requires a node.js tier, which most companies simply cannot spin up on their own.

Read our free eBook for more information about Google’s recommended customer journey for eCommerce in 2019 and how-to overcome the technical complexities involved.

Bottom line

Google has developed tools to facilitate a faster web, with an emphasis on the mobile-web, and has stated recommendations for an optimized eCommerce customer journey based on modern technology.

Unfortunately, these recommendations do not cover non-search channels and add a layer of developmental complexity that might cause developers to write your website twice just to comply with the search giant’s recommendations. Fortunately, we wrote a full eBook about how to avoid these issues while delighting consumers with instant loading pages from landing through checkout.

Consumers have become accustomed to instant page loads, and ignoring their preference is a sure way to make potential customers ignore you and visit your competitors who are most likely investing in website speed optimization.  Providing consumers with an instant customer journey from landing through checkout, on the other hand, will keep them coming back. Read Google's 2019 recommended customer journey for eCommerce ebook to learn how to do so, without adding developmental burden for your team.

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