eCommerce Customer Journey

The key role of website performance in the eCommerce customer journey

In recent years, eCommerce has experienced unprecedented growth, owing to the convenience and vast selection it offers to online shoppers. However, this expansion has brought forth a significant challenge: the need for impeccable website performance. The speed and reliability of eCommerce websites play a pivotal role in determining their success, as they have a direct impact on conversions, revenue, and brand reputation at every stage of the customer journey.

Stages of the eCommerce customer journey

The eCommerce customer journey typically comprises four main stages, each presenting unique challenges and opportunities:

  1. Awareness: This marks the initial discovery of a brand through various channels such as advertisements, search engines, and social media. Here, fast load times are crucial as they directly influence the engagement of new visitors. A sluggish website can deter potential customers before they even get a chance to explore.
  2. Research: During this stage, customers delve deeper into their options by browsing products, reading reviews, and comparing features. Providing rich and informative content aids in their decision-making process. However, slow-loading pages can be a major obstacle, leading to frustration and potential cart abandonment.
  3. Purchase: The ultimate goal of any eCommerce website is to convert shopping carts into sales. Checkout conversion rates heavily depend on the performance of the website. Lagging performance during the checkout process can increase abandonment rates, resulting in lost sales opportunities.
  4. Loyalty: Post-purchase experience, including factors like shipping, customer support, and after-sales service, plays a critical role in building customer loyalty. A website's reliability during this stage is essential, as it directly impacts customer retention and the overall reputation of the brand.

Website performance factors

To ensure a seamless customer journey and optimize eCommerce success, several key website performance factors must be considered:

  • Speed Metrics: Metrics like Time to First Byte (TTFB) and page load times should be continuously monitored and improved. Tools like Lighthouse scores can provide insights into overall performance and identify optimization opportunities. Higher scores not only enhance user experience but also increase organic traffic and conversions.
  • Prerendering: Prerendering involves generating static HTML to serve before dynamic content loads. This practice significantly improves perceived load times, contributing to a smoother user experience.
  • Mobile Optimization: Given that a significant portion of website traffic comes from mobile devices, mobile optimization is paramount. Websites must be designed for speed and usability on mobile platforms to cater to the evolving browsing habits of consumers.
  • Performance Proxy: Automated proxies can simulate real user traffic during load tests, helping to uncover weaknesses under different conditions while safeguarding against potential blocking issues.
  • SEO: Website speed and mobile optimization also have a direct impact on SEO. Faster-loading sites tend to achieve better organic rankings and attract more organic traffic.
  • Load Testing: Load testing is essential to determine how websites withstand traffic spikes. Automated tools can simulate user journeys under peak loads, allowing businesses to identify weaknesses before customers are adversely affected.
  • Code Audits and Improvements: Regular code audits and improvements are crucial for enhancing website efficiency. Technical debt and legacy code can hinder performance, making regular updates and refactoring essential.
  • Edge Side Tagging: This technique optimizes content caching at the edge servers of a CDN. By strategically tagging content, eCommerce websites can efficiently cache frequently changing or personalized elements. This reduces the load on origin servers and enhances overall website performance.Tagging enables the delivery of personalized content while maintaining optimal speed.

How website performance affects checkout

One of the critical junctures in the eCommerce customer journey is the checkout process. Any sluggishness during this phase can have a direct impact on cart abandonment rates, as customers are less likely to tolerate slow-loading pages when trying to complete a purchase. Therefore, optimizing speed during checkout is paramount for converting sales.

Traffic management and virtual waiting rooms

Effective traffic management strategies are essential to ensure the uninterrupted operation of eCommerce websites:

  • DDoS Protection: DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) protection is crucial for filtering out malicious junk traffic that can cripple websites and disrupt business operations.
  • Traffic Spikes: Businesses should anticipate traffic spikes resulting from promotions or seasonal events and plan accordingly to prevent outages caused by an influx of visitors.
  • Bots and Honeypots: Implementing bot detection and honeypot mechanisms can help defend against bad traffic while simultaneously collecting valuable data for analysis and security purposes.
  • Virtual Waiting Rooms: Virtual waiting rooms can be used to evenly limit site access during traffic surges, helping to avoid downtime and maintain a smooth shopping experience for customers. The more qualified shoppers will wait longer if updated on wait times and place in the queue, resulting in a higher conversion rate.

The anonymous world of shoppers - enter fingerprint services

One of the most significant challenges in the realm of eCommerce is the fact that a substantial portion of users browse anonymously. Retailers often have minimal data and insights into the behaviors and preferences of these anonymous visitors, which can lead to various risks:

  • Fraud: The anonymity of users makes it easier for malicious actors to create fake accounts and engage in fraudulent activities, such as coupon abuse. Detecting and mitigating such fraudulent behavior becomes difficult without the ability to link behavior and attributes to known user profiles.
  • Lack of Personalization: Anonymous shoppers miss out on the benefits of customized content, recommendations, and personalized experiences tailored to their interests and past behaviors. The absence of personalization can hinder the overall shopping experience.
  • Privacy laws: Customers still want companies to be transparent in collecting data and many regional privacy laws demand this and the careful use and storing of personal data

To address this challenge, fingerprint techniques come into play. By collecting data on device attributes such as operating system, browser version, screen size, and more, retailers can gain valuable insights into anonymous user behavior without compromising user privacy. These fingerprints assign a unique identifier to users while avoiding the collection of personal information. In this way, identifying anonymous website visitors becomes crucial for enhancing security, providing personalized experiences, and ultimately increasing customer lifetime value.


Advanced personalization, driven by artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, plays a pivotal role in boosting customer engagement and lifetime value. By offering customized experiences tailored to individual interests and purchase history, eCommerce websites can foster deeper connections with their customers.

On-site search

Optimizing on-site search functionality is vital to help customers easily find products. AI and semantic search algorithms can surface the most relevant results, making product discovery a seamless process for users.


In conclusion, delivering speed, stability, and personalization through technical optimization is the key to creating frictionless customer journeys that maximize revenue across the entire customer lifecycle. In the ever-evolving landscape of eCommerce, where customer expectations continue to rise, website performance remains a critical factor in achieving lasting success. Chat with an Enterprise Solution Architect to learn more about how website optimization services can drive up conversion rates.

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