5 Reasons Client-Side Caching Is Best For Your E-commerce Website
In the past few years, the ecommerce industry has grown at an unprecedented rate—from $1.336 trillion in worldwide sales in 2014 to 4.89 trillion in 2021 and it’s expected to reach $6.38 trillion in 2024.
Stats from eMarketer also show the market share growth of eCommerce in global retail sales, moving from 13.6% in 2019 to 19.5% in 2021.
Running an ecommerce business comes with different risks, including order fulfillment, inventory management, payment solutions, website management, etc. The biggest risk comes from website management, with slow loading websites costing businesses as much as $2.6 billion in 2020 alone.
This has become a significant concern across the e-commerce industry irrespective of the size or worth of the business. Amazon, for example, lost $66,240 per minute in 2013, and Walmart said goodbye to $9 million in 150 minutes in 2019.
Small e-commerce business owners now understand they’re liable to lose hundreds of thousands, and even millions of dollars for every second their website is down. Considering that ecommerce businesses allocate 10-12% of their net revenue towards marketing and advertising, risking downtime is something they can’t afford.
This leaves business owners with questions:
- How fast should my ecommerce website load?
- I had a low page load time before my last website upgrade, but now it’s high?
- I heard caching is good for my ecommerce website, but how do I go about it?
- What’s the best way to improve my website speed?
Typically, the primary goal for every ecommerce website is a 100% uptime with fast page load time, but maintaining this is complicated. This can be achieved with several website optimization techniques, but when it comes to e-commerce, client-side caching is your go-to.
What is Client-side Caching?
Client-side caching is the process of storing multiple copies of files and data of a web page on the browser’s memory.
This works by temporarily keeping the copy of recently viewed or accessed web page(s) of users in their browser’s memory—for easier and faster access on subsequent visits. This way, when the user revisits the website, the browser serves the cached page(s) without completely reloading the entire website.
The Problem With E-Commerce Websites
The normal process of a website request from a user goes through a “request-response” cycle between the server and the browser.
With every request a user makes, the same process happens all over again.
Now, imagine what would happen to this cycle if an ecommerce website averages hundreds of thousands or even millions of visitors every month. If your best guess is an impending website crash, you’re correct. This is due to the high CPU usage on the server-side and an increased network consumption due to the frequent response—requests between the server and the browser.
Another survey shows 70% of people say that the speed of a page affects their willingness to buy from an online retailer.
With speed and uptime being the primary concern of most e-commerce website owners, understanding their layout is critical to the solution.
The Layout of E-Commerce Websites
The typical e-commerce website layout incorporates both static and dynamic content for it to work perfectly.
The static content on your e-commerce website is a plain HTML page deployed to an HTTP server with little to no need of fetching responses from the server. This part of an e-commerce website is easier to cache, especially if there are no heavy resources like high-quality images, texts, animations, and video rendering when it loads. Simple static content, such as a product description, is a good example.
When it comes to dynamic content, this involves content on your ecommerce website liable to frequent changes upon a user’s visits or actions on the website. A quick example is the constant change of the header section according to the location of the user. Another is also the cart section that increases or is reduced depending on a user’s order.
Problems With E-Commerce Website Layout
The combination of both static and dynamic websites makes an e-commerce website function properly. It’s also why many ecommerce websites frequently crash—especially when a large part of the content on the site is dynamic. The user only requires a session cookie from the server or browser to maintain its elements with static content.
On the other hand, dynamic content requires consistent cookie sessions to maintain the assets it displays to the user. This is where client-side caching saves the day by caching frequently accessed files on the browser so websites load faster for visitors.
Unlike server-side caching, client-side caching uses a different method of caching dynamic and static content separately. It does this through an HTTP header directive called “cache-control.”
With cache control, determining how web pages are cached becomes easier—in this case, both contents are kept separate. They’re kept separate to avoid the risk of caching wrong or inappropriate data.
A quick example is when a visitor already filled their cart with 12 products before exiting the website. If the static content (product description and product image) were cached with dynamic content such as (cart) when there were only 8 products in the cart, the visitor would be served the wrong version of their cart on their next visit.
Using Client-side caching for Static Content
Many of the shoppers on most e-commerce websites are first-time visitors without an account — so they won’t be logged in or have cached data stored locally in the browser’s memory.
With the user’s interaction on the website navigating through the homepage, product description, product page, and adding items to their cart, these actions will be cached to create a cookie session to the browser.
Using client-side caching, all the static content in the user’s interaction on the website will be cached, and the dynamic content will be bypassed.
Using Client-side caching for Dynamic Content
5 Benefits of Using Client-side Caching for eCommerce Websites
The comfort of shopping from home is the primary foundation of e-commerce. Still, customers have attention spans in real life, and it’s the same when shopping online. Radware, in its survey, shows that about 44% of online shoppers say slow online transactions make them anxious about its success.
This gets worse in e-commerce, with stats showing the total estimated cost of abandoned shopping carts for online retailers to be more than $18 billion per year. If 18% of that loss can be attributed to slow pages, then poor page speed is responsible for more than $3 billion lost in sales in the U.S.
Every e-commerce business’ website determines visitors’ perception, optimizing it and getting the best possible result is the goal. This can be done with client-side caching, and here are 5 of its benefits.
1. Faster Website Load Time and Performance
Traffic spikes are common for most e-commerce websites, especially during a marketing campaign or the holiday season.
In times like this, even websites with the best load time fall victim, dropping scores below average. Client-side caching solves this by fetching cached versions of the pages from the user’s device, minimizing the transmission delay from the browser to the server.
This helps e-commerce websites load most of their pages comparatively faster than if they were fetching responses from the server.
2. Improved User Experience
A typical e-commerce brand is built on a reputation that stems from different factors, one of which is website usability. Shoppers’ buying decisions are influenced by their overall experience in using a website. From the CTA to color grading, to font size, to font type, down to page speed—each determines a user’s experience and can make them convert—or not.
Uxeria, in research, found that 70% of online businesses fail due to poor, poor website usability.
With client-side caching, there is an increase in your assets’ load time and rendering speed—and shoppers wouldn’t have to wait for multiple server responses before it fulfills their request.
3. Helps Avoid Server Congestion
The traffic the e-commerce website handles takes lots of processing power on the server-side. Depending on the preferred host of choice and the server allocated, each has bandwidths to handle.
If the incoming website requests exceed the server’s bandwidth limit, there’ll be network congestion. Requests will take longer to get responses or even crash the website.
Client-side caching reduces this server congestion by cutting the round trip in half. So, for example, when users visit their favorite ecommerce website, the pages are cached, and on their next visit, the browser wouldn’t have to fetch the page from the origin server.
4. Constant Content Availability
In some situations, an ecommerce website might not load due to several reasons beyond your control. One example is when your website is down due to maintenance or an upgrade from the hosting provider. Here’s where client-side caching provides the best support.
Looking at how users won’t be able to assess your website for the best experience fully, client-side caching serves up their cached content and keeps track of their interactions. So, when your website is back up, nothing is lost.
5. Reduced Website Latency
Latency in websites is the time it takes for the server to respond to a user’s request.
With every action a user takes on an e-commerce website, the browser has to process each activity as a request. If, at any point, this action takes more time than it should before the user receives a request, that user is likely to exit the website.
Typically, the goal of every e-commerce website is to aim for low latency—preferably under 150ms to avoid a high bounce and cart abandonment rate.
Using client-side caching, latency reduces drastically, as the browser doesn’t have to make new requests to the server every time, hence saving the roundtrip time.
It’s not news that a fast website provides the best results in terms of conversion rate—so caching as much content as possible makes your website load fast enough and gives you the best possible return on investment.
And in choosing the best type of caching for your ecommerce website, client-side caching provides the best results. You’ll see better improvement in serving content from the browser versus serving content from servers close to users.
Edgemesh is the perfect fit for your e-commerce website, and here’s why.
Using Edgemesh As Your Client-Side Caching Provider
Creating a fast website ultimately leads to an increase in conversion rate, which positively impacts the revenue of a business. This is why businesses are constantly looking for ways to improve their website speed—even if it’s by a single second.
Client-side caching is the best for doing this, and that’s how we at Edgemesh help you. We use your traffic to create automated, real-time optimizations for your website. Our advanced pre-cached technology helps your customers pre-load your content before they request it.
As we’ve seen, this method results in your website running 20-50% faster without changing your database or front-end infrastructure—and it’s all done with a single line of code. We integrate with most of the platforms you’re likely using or will use when it comes to compatibility.
- Big Commerce
- Cloudflare, and
- Custom Sites (NodeJs, Netlify, Gatsby, Salesforce Commerce Cloud, etc.)
Edgemesh simply makes it easy to speed up your website without the need for a developer.
If you made it to the end of this article, that means you’d be interested in the rest of this series.
Below are related articles we think you’ll find helpful:
Do customer experience, good conversions, low bounce rates and overall, speed matter to you? Then you’ll love Edgemesh’s Enterprise-Grade Web Acceleration.
Our intelligent, automated, and next-generation client-side caching readies your website to move at full speed—with just a single line of code. Plus, it takes under 5 minutes to set up.
What do you say?
Start your 14-day trial to get a feel for what speed means to your business.