Lean, mean website structure performs best in China, Dynatrace reveals

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In the lead up to China Singles Day, now the largest e-commerce event in the world, Dynatrace has been tracking and analysing the site performance and strategies of leading Chinese and international retailers. The data was taken from the perspective of Chinese consumers, to evaluate how the best global retailers navigate the country’s unique digital landscape.

Dave Anderson, VP marketing EMEA and APAC for Dynatrace, explains further: “Across the 20+ luxury, market and specialty e-commerce sites Dynatrace has been evaluating we can see that Chinese retailers are averaging an interactive (DOM) site load time of 3.4 seconds, compared with international players who are averaging 7.7 seconds.

“Digging a little deeper, we can see that the better performing sites are typically designed for speed. They use minimal third party hosts and keep objects in check. Page weight is also an important consideration – the lighter the better. Another fundamental, strategic decision is to host content locally or in HK.”

Interestingly, Swedish retailer H&M was one international player that ticked all the site performance boxes. H&M is allowing consumers to start interacting with their site in as little as 2.4 seconds. While speed isn’t the only user experience metric, globally consumers prefer fast sites above lots of features and functions.

Anderson said: “We know that user experience is fundamental to e-commerce success today, so retailers must be ready to tackle new markets with a localised site strategy. You can’t just replicate a site from another country, attach a local URL and assume it will work. This is especially the case in China.

“Many of us know that the more obvious site plug-ins like Facebook and Pinterest are not supported in China but there’s many other technical components that may create performance issues. You need to be careful about how you use Google APIs, YouTube, marketing automation software or cart abandonment tools. Big images, video and pop up ads also create complexity that result in a poor experience for Chinese consumers. Best starting point is to strip the site back and measure the performance of everything very closely,” said Anderson.