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The State of Third-Party Apps on E-Commerce Sites

Posted on 3.06.2017
From personalizing the Web experience to offering live chat for customers looking for instant answers, online retailers leverage a wide variety of third-party applications to add functionality to their e-commerce platform or content management system - but to what effect?

To understand the number of applications used per site as well as the performance and conversion consequences of deploying them, Yottaa, Inc., evaluated more than 600 e-commerce sites - and its findings were pretty interesting. Yottaa’s analysis, for example, revealed that some of the most popular third-party applications used by e-commerce sites today are:
  • Advertising technology 
  • Social media
  • Personalization
  • Live chat
  • Recommendation engines
  • Shopper reviews and ratings
As part of this evaluation, Yottaa documented the number of third-party applications per site, the number of third-party violations per site, and the impact that these violations had on both performance and online conversions.

Violations occur when applications take an extended time to load, are very large in size, fail to load or block an entire page from loading completely. In a somewhat shocking finding, 80 percent of retail websites have over 1,200 third-party violations per hour.

Below is some of the data from the Yottaa study that demonstrates the impact third-party applications have on site performance.
  • Average violations: 1,543,137 (per brand site per day)
  • Average time lost: 1,900 minutes (per brand site per day)
  • Shopper time lost per page: 3.27 seconds
  • Shopper time lost per session: 99.4 seconds
“Shoppers today expect the same rich experience online that they experience in-store. Third party applications and content such as personalization, recommendations, and live chat are critical to achieving this,” said Rich Stendardo, CEO of Yottaa. “Unfortunately, these applications can also result in poor performance which has been proven to drive shoppers away to competing sites, resulting in lost revenue. Yottaa enables retailers to provide its shoppers with the best of both worlds – lightning fast performance and an engaging experience through third party applications. The impact is that our customers have been able to increase online conversions 10-20 percent by using Yottaa to get control of these applications and improve site speed.”

It's no secret that e-commerce sites are "heavy," but retailers seem to be improving. Their average year-over-year speed went from 5.07 seconds in 2015 to 4.78 seconds in 2016.

While there are many factors impacting site speed, third-party applications is certainly one of them. What, however, is a company to do when those apps may be the very ones that drive conversions and engagement? Technically, Yottaa sequences third-party applications to reduce associated violations. Operationally, it's important to take a balanced approach to bringing in new functionality - or risk weighing down both a website and the company's resources. 

Read, "Balanced Web Operations."

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