A slow-loading web page bleeds money. In a study from Unbounce, 70 percent of consumers said that a website’s loading time affects their purchasing decision, with more than half claiming that they give a page three seconds to fully load – max – before moving on. This aligns with research from Google finding that mobile sites loading in two seconds or less have a 15.3 percent higher conversion rate.
Speed, though, is just half the battle. The other half is presenting a customer with personalized content in that very small window, which for at least one Redpoint customer is an 18-millisecond SLA. As customers increasingly move to digital-first customer journeys, real-time website personalization is becoming an essential engagement tool. Brands that do it successfully have an edge; by delighting a customer or prospect with a hyper-relevant message, offer or content, a brand demonstrates that it values the customer beyond a transactional basis. In a recent Dynata study commissioned by Redpoint, 70 percent of customers said that they will only shop with brands that demonstrate a personal understanding. Real-time website personalization is a great way to start.
Limitations of a Client-Side Approach
A key question pertaining to website personalization is whether to adopt a client side or server-side approach. Until recently, client-side personalization has been more prevalent because of its relatively low entry cost and simple integrations with an array of personalization tools, each with its own niche functionality that, combined, take shape as what a website visitor will perceive as personalization.
In both situations – the slowly loading page or a timeout issue – the bigger problem is a customer on the other end who has just been presented with a poor customer experience.
Server-Side Delivers the Goods
Server-side website personalization, by contrast, offers greater control and security. With API integrations directly into a content management system (CMS), marketers essentially have a unified platform to direct decisioning with a consistent definition of customers, rules and audiences. Because everything is managed from one place and there are no multiple network hops to retrieve content, the timeout/flash of original content issues are non-factors.
As for the security issue, the traffic visibility drawback in client-side personalization is negated completely; the CMS makes a request to a server on the same subnet, and retrieves and injects the content as part of the response to the browser request. Every action on the server is completely masked from a visitor.
Additional performance gains can be had with a server-side implementation when data needs to be retrieved from an internal data store. Unlike traditional client-side implementations, which by nature must be publicly facing, a server-side approach does not require a proxy to communicate to the databases behind a firewall.
Rather than make a network hop to a public server that may have to make a network hop to a proxy that will then query a database, return and inject the content, etc., Redpoint’s real-time web services can connect directly to the databases – without having to go through another service in a server-side deployment.
Website Personalization is Worth Doing Well
With greater security and better performance, more and more organizations are foregoing the low-hanging fruit of client-side website personalization for server-side implementations that deliver the real deal – real-time, hyper-relevant personalization that customers respond to with more conversions and repeat business. In a Harris Poll commissioned by Redpoint that delves into the customer experience gap, 33 percent of customers say they are “very frustrated” when a company sends irrelevant offers – and 37 percent say they will stop doing business with a company that fails to offer a personalized experience.
Real-time website personalization meets customer demands for a personalized omnichannel experience, with a server-side approach mitigating performance and security issues that have a potential to introduce friction into a customer journey.