How the eCommerce industry in the UK is changing to meet increased traffic demands


As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to force people to stay at home and shop from their devices, the eCommerce industry grows by leaps and bounds.

Statistics show that this growth isn’t quite as even as people might have originally believed, however. Larger established online retailers have taken the lion’s share of the market, which has made it difficult for smaller firms to compete.

Many companies in the United Kingdom have adopted website personalization in the hopes of increasing customer traffic. According to a recent study, around 74 percent of eCommerce sites have now adopted some sort of personalization system. This is up considerably from last year’s numbers.

Strangely, other electronic sales channels haven’t quite caught up with this trend. Only 42 percent of SMS-based retailers had personalized their customer interactions. Considering how competitive the industry is getting, this is going to become increasingly vital in the coming months.

Sudden Trends in the eCommerce Industry

In spite of the fact that the coronavirus pandemic is drastically changing the way that businesses work, the most recent industry figures date to 2018. The market was worth over £688 billion at that point, and it’s likely grown by more than 20 percent since that time.

Businesses that deal with traditional consumer products have seen the greatest increases in recent months. As consumers found themselves suddenly unable to buy basic goods, they looked increasingly toward their phones and laptops to place orders. It’s gotten to the point that half of consumers are happy to engage with their primary care physician online. As a result, it’s likely that almost all traditional transactions are moving toward the online marketplace.

That might spell disaster for more traditional eCommerce sellers who’ve focused on providing hard-to-find goods. These sellers have typically flocked to eBay, Amazon and other large portals for sales. Consumers who are suddenly without disposable incomes are likely to avoid these kinds of products. Not all of the news is bad, however.

Researchers have found that small business owners who invest at least nine percent of their total profits are in a decent position to weather the storm. There are also several things that smaller online retailers can do to improve their prospects in this difficult time.

Simple Ways to Improve Sagging eCommerce Sales Figures

Perhaps the biggest thing to remember is to not cut your promotion even if things don’t look like they’re turning around. Businesses that continued to promote themselves during the depression ended up doing very well later on. You may, however, want to rethink your current advertising plan and see if you can’t more effectively promote your business through free online social media channels.

While you’re looking over your company’s existing promotional efforts, you’ll also want to consider how the performance of your site might be impacting organic search results. While you may think that raw SEO is the only consideration when trying to get to index your site, this isn’t the case. Both Google and Bing now use complex algorithms that take the performance of websites into consideration.

If you have a fair amount of unnecessary JavaScript code that has to be resolved each time your page loads, then you’ll want to start thinning things out. Discrete links and embedded images work just as well now as they did in the past. While responsive design and ease of maintenance are still as important as ever, you don’t want to burden visitors with material that they shouldn’t have to download.

One of the best ways to speed up your site is to improve the way that it caches. If you haven’t turned on object caching, then you should. This allows the server that stores your site to cache database queries, which can help resolve future queries faster. When customers search for popular products, your site won’t have to hit the database to find them.

Opcode caching might be an option too. This feature executes and then stores PHP code, so your clients won’t have to do it themselves later on. Depending on how much code you have to deal with, you might also want to point broken links at a static 404 page so your shoppers won’t have to go through a second redirect that will slow them down even more.

As soon as you’re finished with your improvements, you’ll want to use a load testing tool that will help you decide just how much time your site takes to perform certain tasks. If your site performs these basic benchmarks unacceptably, then you might need to make further changes.

Load tests normally simulate an ever-increasing number of concurrent visitors that land on your site. It then records how your site handles them and points out whether or further modifications are necessary. In some cases, you might only need to disable one or two scripts in order to make a site work properly. As you improve the loading speed of your site, you should notice a gradual increase in your overall search ranking.

Some tools mimic different types of user behavior, which might include changing pages or performing queries. The most sophisticated tools map out logical workflows that different users might ultimately try.

Website performance is a major issue that many people grapple with. However, once you’ve sorted these problems out you should find that it becomes dramatically easier to maintain your site and attract additional visitors who might have otherwise been unable to make needed purchases.