Furniture Village and Greenlight slash page load times, boosting the user experience

Mobile is a key component of Furniture Village’s multi-channel retail offer, helping customers to both shop online and to research and visit stores. Together with their digital agency Greenlight, the company monitors visits, time on site and the conversion funnel, but ultimately evaluates success on improved conversion rate over time. As a way of driving engagement and conversions, the team launched a project to improve the mobile user experience.

About Furniture Village
Furniture retailer
Founded in 1989
Over 50 stores throughout England
About Greenlight
Full-service digital and commerce agency
Founded in 2001
Clients in more than 30 countries
Goals
Enhance user experience for online customers
Improve page speed performance in relation to competitors
Approach
Used Google PageSpeed Insights, Lighthouse, Analytics 360 and Google Search Console to conduct a mobile site audit
Identified potential changes to improve site speed
Developed a business plan to demonstrate impact of site speed improvements on conversion performance
Implemented and tested user experience changes
Results
20% reduction in page load time
10% increase in conversion rate for mobile devices
9% decrease in bounce rate
12% growth in mobile revenue
“We’re delighted with the collaboration with Google and our key partners to improve our mobile performance and constantly evolve Furniture Village online to meet the changing needs of our customers.”

– Susan Knights, Head of eCommerce, Furniture Village

“Currently close to half of all our traffic onsite is from mobile devices”, explains Susan Knights, Head of eCommerce for Furniture Village. “The customer is central to the marketing strategy, and mobile is a key component of this.”

Greenlight partnered with Google to conduct an audit of the mobile site, using Google PageSpeed Insights, Lighthouse, Analytics 360 and the Google Search Console in their research. With a focus on improving site speed, the team identified a list of potential changes to the site.

Greenlight worked with Furniture Village to prioritise the changes, balancing potential conversion improvements against required resource. The analysis clearly justified to the business how site speed improvements could drive conversion performance. “We worked collaboratively with Greenlight to clearly demonstrate the return on investment for undertaking this task”, Susan says. “Taking into consideration the resource, time and cost, the business case presented the benefit to the customer, which would in turn generate a benefit for the company.”

Greenlight then got started executing key site changes. “The tangible benefits enabled the activity to be prioritised and implemented relatively quickly as part of our agile approach to development alongside other business priorities on the roadmap”, Susan says.

The optimisations tackled a number of areas:

#1 JavaScript and cascading style sheets

The team removed unused JavaScript code and split the site’s CSS files into one general application file and smaller files for different pages, preventing unused CSS code from having to load.

#2 Browser caching

Greenlight implemented a new approach for images so all assets are now cached for at least one week.

#3 Image files

Enabling smaller, richer images that make the web faster, WebP is now the preferred format on the site. Greenlight’s developers put a script in place so JPEG files will appear whenever WebP is not supported. Meanwhile, all icons now use scalable vector graphics and are combined into one file.

#4 Image compression

All WebP images are now compressed, with new images being optimised as they are added.

#5 Image loading

The development team put a code in place to lazy-load images in the correct format and resolution, preventing duplicated images and images that the user is not seeing from being loaded.

As a result of the optimisations, Furniture Village soon recorded some impressive results. Not only did the average page load time and page size fall by 20%, but organic traffic increased by 15%, bounce rate decreased by 9% and mobile conversion rate went up by 10%. What’s more, the mobile revenue grew by 12%.

Developing a great experience for mobile users

Like Furniture Village, many businesses recognise the importance of providing a superb mobile experience. But when it comes to making improvements, it can be hard to know where to focus. Remember, good mobile user experiences consistently deliver on three pillars.

Intuitive design

Consumers, especially on mobile, are easily distracted and move on quickly. Great mobile designs reduce user friction and make tasks easy both physically (for instance by placing buttons in the right place) and mentally (for example by ensuring a button does what a user expects).

Engaging functionality

It’s crucial to give users the functionality they need to take action in the moment, rather than forcing them to turn to other platforms or to go into a store.

Fast loading

There’s no point in great design if a user can’t see it. Consumers are an impatient bunch: more than half of users will drop off if pages don’t load within three seconds. 1

By focusing their time and energy on making their site load as quickly as possible, Furniture Village have reaped real benefits. Going forward, they’re committed to respecting the user’s demand for fast-loading pages. “Site speed is reviewed on a daily and weekly basis both internally and collaboratively with our partners to identify and implement improvements on an ongoing basis”, Susan reveals. “User experience is constantly under review, with a roadmap in place to improve the customer journey, improve user signals and ultimately drive acquisition and retention.”

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