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Hi there, hope you're having a great Friday!
This is Colm and Simon from CommerceGurus, with a handpicked weekly roundup of eCommerce articles.
Getting a good performance score from Google is hard for any website — but doing so for an online store is even harder.
Smashing Magazine have published an excellent case study on taking an existing online store with relatively poor speed scores and the steps taken to incrementally improve them.
This is a brilliant example which I think applies to many of our readers who are dealing with legacy old code bases and don't know where to start when it comes to improving them.
One simple tip covered in the article references the chat client the store currently used.
They convinced the client to try a self-hosted open-source chat widget instead, which loads only the icon for the chat initially; the rest gets loaded when you click to open it.
This is an excellent article for anyone with an eCommerce store, well worth poring over.
Read about improving the performance of an Online Store
Baymard has some very interesting research on small catalog eCommerce stores which I think is very relevant for many of our readers.
Many users wanted to feel like the site shares their tastes, values, and goals.
They found that in particular, the homepage is likely to be much more important for these kinds of stores.
Additionally, many users will dig deeper and begin looking for links to “About” pages and the FAQs, both in an attempt to answer basic questions (e.g., “What is this site, and what does it sell?”) as well as more specific ones (“Are the products paraben free?”).
It's certainly a challenge to provide relevant content to reassure potential customers, while not overwhelming them.
See Baymard's Research on Small Catalog Stores
We've written a lot about Web Vitals, both in this newsletter and on the CommerceGurus Blog over the past few months.
For any designers and developers reading this, I enjoyed this article about optimizing CSS for Web Vitals.
It includes some useful tips such as avoiding background images where possible. CSS can now be used to produce gradients if you want some flair without the overhead.
Also, how you render fonts to prevent that unsightly flash as it loads is critical in order to reduce CLS.
If you're using our Shoptimizer theme, Colm covers a new technique to solve this in our speed video at around the 1:01 mark.
Read about CSS for Web Vitals
Shopify has published an excellent "big picture" guide to global eCommerce trends to look out for in 2021.
The global ecommerce market is expected to total $4.89 trillion in 2021. That figure is estimated to grow over the next few years, showing that borderless ecommerce is becoming a profitable option for online retailers.
Two years ago, only 13.6% of sales were made from online purchases. Today, that number is expected to reach 19.5% in 2021, a 45.8% increase.
Online shoppers are also increasingly looking outside their country’s borders for purchases.
One of the simplest ways to begin testing new markets is to prioritize online advertising or social media abroad.
This is an excellent article to study if you're thinking about expanding your store's reach to other markets.
Read the eCommerce Stats and Trends to look out for in 2021
I was disappointed to read that Jilt is being shut down by GoDaddy. We've been using Jilt at CommerceGurus for a number of years and it's been an extremely reliable system for recovering abandoned carts.
We've written and recommended Jilt so we'll be on the lookout, like many others, for an alternative.
Read about Jilt shutting down
Finally this week, I really enjoyed this video from Jake and Surma as they chat about how different image formats load, and what you can do to make them feel faster.
It's an excellent (and entertaining) primer on the fundamentals of image sizes. Trying to reduce the size of images, while maintaining quality, is a crucial requirement of nearly every eCommerce store.
Learn about Progressively loading images
That's it for this edition. Simply reply to this email if you have any questions or suggestions, we read every message. Have a great week and best of luck with your projects!
Colm and Simon from CommerceGurus