The retailer increased its conversion rates by 21% after implementing new technology that helped speed up its site.

Privacy Pop may sell beds, but its ecommerce site kept it up at night. When customers would get on PrivacyPop.com, they experienced excruciatingly slow page load speeds, says Danny Ninete, CEO.

The retailer sells bed tents designed to give sleepers more privacy and quiet for a better night’s rest. It provides a wide selection of product colors and patterns, but Privacy Pop’s product pages would load so slowly, many customers would leave before even browsing the site’s inventory. Privacy Pop’s bounce rate was 80%, meaning 80% of site visitors would leave the site without navigating to another page beyond the retailer’s homepage.

“Page loads were sometimes taking up to 15 seconds,” Ninete says. The back and forth from the server to fetch the HTML files to load all the elements of a page took longer than many consumers were willing to wait, he says. By comparison, average page load time for retailers in the Digital Commerce 360 Top 1000 is 3.76 seconds.

 

 

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Out of frustration, Ninete began researching how to increase page load speeds and the direct correlation among site speed, conversion rates and average order value.

Soon, he came across headless commerce and ecommerce technology vendor Nacelle. Nacelle uses headless commerce functionality and works with many retailers’ existing ecommerce platforms and technologies such as the Shopify ecommerce platform Ninete was already using.

The key difference between headless commerce and traditional online stores is that, with headless, the front-end shopping interface consumers see is separated from the back-end data and systems. This allows merchants to update their customer-facing store without back-end coding or system updates. And similarly, they can update their back-end functionality without disrupting their front-end customer experience. The main advantages of headless commerce are easier customization and a faster site, experts say.

Nacelle also uses progressive web app or PWA functionality for its website. Built using web technologies such as JavaScript, HTML, and Cascading Style Sheets, PWAs function as websites viewed through a browser yet look and feel like a mobile app. Nacelle uses advanced PWA functionality that loads an entire site at once, when a visitor first arrives. Unlike traditional websites, with PWAs there’s no delay created by the back and forth of data between browser and web server each time a shopper moves to a new page. This creates a smooth, app-like experience and fast page loads.

“While headless PWAs are mobile-first (meaning they are designed for a mobile browser and scale up for larger screens), they work exceptionally well across all devices,” Ninete says. “So, for Privacy Pop there is no separate site for mobile—it’s all one codebase.”

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80% of traffic to Privacy Pop is mobile, 18% is desktop and 2% is tablet, he says.

Ninete worked with system integrator Coldsmoke Creative to deploy Nacelle’s headless PWA as well as a headless content management system from Contentful while still using its existing ecommerce platform, Shopify Plus. 

The new headless PWA from Nacelle only took 30 business days for Privacy Pop to launch and went live in September 2020, in time for the busy holiday season, Ninete says.

As a result of the changes, the retailer’s homepage now loads in two seconds on average, and consecutive page loads only take 38 milliseconds on average to load, Ninete says.

Privacy Pop also experienced a 21% increase in conversion rates after moving to headless and Nacelle, as well as an 8.7% increase in average order value and a 190% uptick in the number of pages consumers visit on average during a session. The average time spent on site also increased 49.46% and the retailer’s bounce rate fell by 30.42% to 50%. 

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Nacelle CEO and founder Brian Anderson previously ran a Shopify Plus agency that specialized in custom headless commerce builds for Shopify Plus merchants, including building PWAs. In that role, Anderson and his team ran into many of the complexities and challenges of custom headless builds, which led him to him launch Nacelle. Nacelle aims to reduce the complexity of rolling out headless commerce functionality by working with retailers’ existing ecommerce platforms and technologies.

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