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Mar 15, 2024 | 6 minute read

How to Measure Your Online Store’s Performance – and Why Being Composable Makes for a Better Storefront

written by Seamus Roddy

At Elastic Path, we’re committed to helping brands offer strong online shopping experiences. Personalization, strong navigation and search, dynamic product pages, secure payment options, loyalty programs and incentives – all are essential to winning business.

But as brands add and refine commerce experience, they often realize that all the capabilities in the world aren’t worthwhile if their site isn’t fast and high-performing. That's no surprise: slow-loading and poor performing websites cost retailers $2.6 billion in sales per year.

When we talk performance, brands sometimes also sometimes ask us: Will a multi-vendor, composable solution negatively affect my site performance?

The answer is no. Having an online store with strong site performance and a high-degree of composability unlocks the ability to provide conversion and revenue-boosting experiences to your customers. And being composable can actually improve your site’s performance.

Learn how to measure your online store’s performance and how composability improves your online store. Then, use our Storefront Grader™ to quickly get a detailed report on your online store’s performance and degree of composability compared to your peers.

How to Evaluate Your Online Store’s Technical Performance

The first step of evaluating the site performance of your online store is to know what to measure. We recommend evaluating your store based on accessibility, best practices, SEO, and site performance.

Accessibility ensures that your site content is accessible to anyone, including those with disabilities, and is a strong reflection of your store’s user experience. Strong user experience and accessibility increases engagement, lowers bounce rates, and improves your site’s ranking on major search engines – which in turn attracts new customers.

Best practices are how Google and other search engines evaluate your online store’s adherence to modern standards of web development. Best practices cover areas related to security, performance, user experience, and more. Best practices include avoiding deprecated APIs, eliminating browser errors, and having images displayed with a correct aspect ratio.

SEO, or search engine optimization, means making sure that the content on your online store appears in front of online searchers who are interested in and ready to buy your products. Doubting the value of SEO? 43% of ecommerce traffic comes from organic Google search results, and eCommerce SEO has an ROI of 1,600% compared to paid search. SEO performance is dependent on complete meta descriptions, strong links, mobile optimization, concise and clear URLs, and more.

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Finally, any strong online store needs positive site performance. Site performance is best evaluated through metrics that measure the speed and dynamism of your site, including:

  • Speed index (SI): A measurement of how quickly it takes content to visually populate while your store’s pages are loading. Google’s benchmark for a fast SI is 3.4 seconds or lower.
  • Total blocking time (TBT): How long it takes for a page to become responsive to user inputs like mouse clicks, screen taps, or keyboard strokes. You should strive for a TBT of 200 milliseconds or less.
  • First contentful paint (FCP): The time it takes your browser to render any content, including text, animations, and graphics. You should strive to have a FCP of 1.8 seconds or less.
  • Largest contentful paint (LCP): How long it takes your page’s largest content element to appear on the screen, indicating to users that the page is fully ready to use. You should strive for a LCP of 2.5 seconds or less.
  • Cumulative layout shift (CLS): A measurement of how often a web page is anticipated to shift unexpectedly while its content is still loading. The lower the CLS the better – you should aim for less than 0.1.

An online store with strong accessibility, adherence to web best practices, consistent SEO optimization, and technical site performance is the first half of offering online shopping experiences that delight customers and maximize online revenue.

How Composability Improves Your Online Store’s Performance

The second half of evaluating the performance of your online store is to measure composability. Composable commerce is when brands use API-first, best-of-breed technologies to meet unique business needs. How is it that composable, multi-vendor technology improves your online store’s performance?

To start, a multi-vendor solution means offering top experiences for different parts of your site. You select the best commerce elements for your business needs, which means elevated overall customer experiences. Those experiences are fast, as composable commerce uses MACH architecture, which stands for microservices, API-first, cloud-native, and headless. MACH architectures don’t require on-prem servers or other performance-inhibiting, dated technology.

Composability also improves your online store’s performance because your merchandisers and marketers have more control to make changes and create ideal customer experiences. SIn comparison, sites that use an all-in-one, monolithic architecture are more likely to be loaded with technical debt, as making changes requires development and IT resources. A composable architecture means being able to make changes and innovate fast – providing better and better commerce experiences over time.

Measure Your Online Store’s Performance With Our Storefront Grader

Having a fast, performing commerce site is essential for any brand. The best way to measure your storefront’s performance fast? Our Storefront Grader.

Plug in a URL, and the Storefront Grader in moments provides grades for performance, accessibility, best practices, and SEO.

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Within the performance grade is a detailed listing of your online store’s speed index, total blocking time, first and largest contentful paints, and cumulative layout shift. The Storefront Grader also includes a rating of your site’s composability and a detailed breakdown of your commerce tech stack – and which vendors best integrate into a composable solution.

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The Storefront Grader also includes next steps, giving you recommended actions to improve your site’s performance.

Ready to see how your brand stacks up? Take five minutes to plug in your online store’s URL and read through the results. Then, optimize your storefront for performance and composability and unlock more conversions and more revenue.

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