September 22, 2011, 11:35 AM

Strangeloop Networks aims for faster m-commerce sites

Its Mobile Site Optimizer could improve load times and reduce bounce rates.

Kevin Woodward

Senior Editor

Lead Photo

Mobile site optimization can improve the consumer's visit to an m-commerce site.

Retailers concerned about slow-loading mobile commerce sites and impatient consumers will soon have a new tool to optimize their sites.

Strangeloop Networks says the Mobile Site Optimizer service it’s preparing to introduce can improve the performance of m-commerce sites on iOS, Android and Windows Mobile devices. That’s important, says Joshua Bixby, Strangeloop Networks president, because consumers expect mobile sites to load as quickly as desktop sites.

He cites an Equation Research study of 4,000 consumers commissioned by Compuware Gomez that says 71% of mobile users expect that level of performance. Additionally, consumers are impatient when waiting for mobile sites to load. Equation says 74% of mobile phone users will only wait five seconds or less for a page to load. Many consumers leave, or bounce, when m-commerce sites don’t load as quickly as they would like.

Retailers could see improved mobile conversion rates, Bixby says, if mobile loading times are improved, because more consumers would see the retailer’s site and thus have an opportunity to buyRetailers do not want to lose the spark that prompted the consumer to visit the mobile site, he adds.

Available later this year, the Mobile Site Optimizer service targets specific facets of mobile sites, Bixby says. For example, it can suppress a redirection command if a customer previously visited the mobile site. Many retailers use automatic redirects to load their m-commerce site on a smartphone when a consumer types in the e-commerce site URL. If the customer is a repeat visitor, however, the Strangeloop Networks mobile service can remember that consumer and bypass the redirect command on subsequent visits so the mobile site loads more quickly, Bixby explains.

The service also can compress images for the mobile site by as much as 25%, making them load faster, he says.  A mobile site also can be optimized for the best viewing based on the size of the mobile phone screen.

Retailers can either buy the Mobile Site Optimizer hardware, which Bixby says starts at $30,000 and carries an annual maintenance fee, or pay a minimum of $3,000 a month to use it as a hosted service.


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