You cannot measure success without performance data — that’s the first thing David Olsson learned when he joined DIY retailer K-Rauta as Digital Marketing Manager last year. Upon being introduced to the home improvement chain’s data warehouse, he discovered that it was unstructured – and managed by multiple functions across the company at the same time.
He decided the first and most important task would be to clean up K-Rauta’s analytics, knowing that digital growth could only be achieved with a new, optimised ecommerce platform.
Olsson sought help from global engineering and design company Reaktor, and their joint vision of a performance-led digital strategy meant they immediately understood each other. “With everything we do, we make sure that performance is at the heart of it. With limited resources, our first priority was to build a new ecommerce platform, so we decided to focus on speed as our main KPI,” says Staffan Enberg, developer at Reaktor.
While Olsson himself was immediately sold by the idea, convincing K-Rauta’s internal stakeholders of the need for speed was less easy. “It’s difficult to connect speed with revenue, which understandably doesn’t sit well with most C-levels. I’ve learned that having a checklist or one-pager that stresses the importance of speed can do wonders – the key is keeping the information bite-sized, and focusing on product data and direct impact.”
It was this guide to calculating relative mobile conversion rate that enabled K-Rauta to take action, as it helped Olsson to prove that decreasing mobile load times by 23% could lead to an approximate uplift of 25% in direct sales via the mobile website. In addition, it showed K-Rauta and Reaktor how to quantify the direct impact of their site improvements, allowing them to continuously test and refine their work.
To ensure the new platform was ready to sprint straight out of the starting blocks, K-Rauta and Reaktor used Lighthouse, Google’s open-source, automated tool for improving the quality of web pages, to identify which parts of the site needed cleaning up. “From shaving code to optimising images and pre-rendering pages — small tweaks can significantly help to cut page-load time,” Enberg explains.
“Performance is often seen as a mammoth task, especially for sites the size of K-Rauta,” Olsson adds. “But having 25,000 products doesn’t mean you have to build hundreds of landing pages. Rather, we rolled out a ‘blanket’ solution by removing areas of the site that scaled across all products, ending up with only a handful of landing pages. Building something from scratch really helped here, as it allowed us to keep the new system as light as possible.”
Having the right people in the room – including a data ‘gatekeeper’
Getting everyone on board wouldn't have been possible had K-Rauta not been able to calculate the value of speed. “Being able to illustrate that better site speed could lead to a 25% increase in sales made C-levels aware of business value, and showed developers the impact of low hanging fruit,” says Olsson. “To effectively roll-out a project this big, you need decision makers as well as technical experts. It’s this multi-level collaboration which has allowed us to work efficiently while keeping everything in-house.”
“Project organisation is key to making things work, as is creating an environment where people can debate,” Enberg explains. “Our developers and designers worked side by side, making mutual decisions based on performance testing and data. By working together, they were able to maintain a great user experience, while also keeping things light. All that’s really needed to build a good project is the right team.”
“What’s also important,” Olsson adds, “is that brands put someone in charge of their data. I’m essentially K-Rauta’s “data gatekeeper”, which is crucial for keeping results objective. That said, insights need to be made available to all layers of an organisation, which is why I use a “translation book” with naming conventions when agreeing on KPIs and reporting. In order to make data engaging and impactful, you need to ensure that it resonates with people — only then will they see the opportunities and can cross-level understanding be achieved.”
Growing mobile revenue by 8% in just two months
In quantifying the value of speed to get company buy-in, which, in turn, was needed to take steps towards faster load times, K-Rauta’s journey came full circle. In just two months, they managed to decrease load times by 23%, leading to an 8% uplift in revenue from mobile visitors. Exciting results which Enberg is keen to share with his Finnish colleagues: “Best practices for business can differ in other countries, but a platform is a platform. Creating methods that can be easily scaled is the ultimate efficiency.”
- Appoint a ‘data gatekeeper’ – someone who can take charge of your data to turn insights into action.
- Get C-levels to back up your optimisation plans by connecting the dots between speed and revenue.
- Keep user experience at the core of your work by letting decision makers, developers, and designers work side by side.