Five Ways to Optimize Your Tech Stack

Garret Cunningham

Technology is a big expense for e-commerce retailers, who can spend between £250,000 and £800,000 on licensed technology for their website. This includes the platform license, search and merchandise, content management solution, behavioral analytics, payment platforms and more.

There are at least 10,000 technology vendors vying for space on e-commerce websites, so it can be easy for retailers to get caught up in the “latest and greatest” technology. However, it’s important to make sure that any technology on your website has earned its right to be there.

If technology isn’t delivering value, it should be removed from your site. If it is delivering value, you should double down and look to get the most out of it that you can. Here are five ways through testing that you can optimize your e-commerce tech stack:

1. Omission

There’s a chance that you’ve had tools in your tech stack for years but have never performed due diligence to determine if they are adding value or not. One way to do this is to simply hide or remove a tool and see what happens. If the conversion rate drops, you have quantified its value.

A sportswear retailer had multiple payment providers on its site and decided to remove Amazon Pay and see what happened. The result was a 3.5% increase in conversion rate on mobile devices, which boosted revenue by £900,000. It turned out that offering fewer payment options resulted in more conversions and higher revenue.

A fashion retailer had been using Norton security software on its website for years and wondered if they still needed it. When they removed the software, they saw an uplift in conversion rate of over 1%, which was significant. They also saved £2,000 a month by no longer paying for security software they didn’t need.

2. Proof of concept

The idea here is to try out a new feature or tool before jumping into a long-term commitment. Then you can quantify the value it brings and decide if it’s worth committing to.

With social proof — a promotional badge that says that ‘xxx number of people have bought a certain item that day’ — we have seen conversion rate uplifts of between 1.5% and 3% when tested over a period. We have also seen for the same vendor on a different website no conversion rate uplift at all. Just because something works for someone else doesn’t mean it will work for you and your customers, and vice versa.

3. Desirability

Before you invest in a new tech tool or feature, you should make sure it’s something that your customers actually want — not just the “latest and greatest” technology that’s generating all the buzz.

A fashion retailer wanted to bring the in-store experience online by using technology that lets customers design certain garments virtually. They invested a tremendous amount of time and money into the technology and then tested it with some customers before making it live on their site.

It turned out that customers in the test didn’t interact with the tool unless they were prompted to. When the feature went live, less than 0.5% of site visitors used it. The retailer could have done customer interviews or designed prototypes before rolling out the feature, which would have saved a lot of time and money.

4. Profitability

A technology tool or feature might generate higher revenue, but is it driving higher profitability?

A multi-brand retailer increased the visibility of Klarna on its payment page, which boosted the conversion rate by 1.9%, or £840,000 in incremental revenue. But Klarna was the most expensive payment platform on the site, so the retailer was actually losing more margin. The strategy was positive from a revenue standpoint but negative from a profitability standpoint.

A fashion retailer wanted to get more customers to come into the store to pick up their items so they would have more upsell opportunities. So they boosted the visibility of Google Maps on their site, which nearly doubled “click and collect” from 8% to 15%. But there’s a cost for the Google Maps API, so instead of it appearing automatically, they changed it so the user has to select it, which lowered this cost. The retailer reached their “click and collect” target for the year while maintaining profitability margin.

5. Strategy

Just because you are using a certain technology on your website doesn’t mean that you’re getting the most out of it. You should constantly look to evolve your tech tools to maximise their value.

An online appliance retailer used augmented reality to show site visitors how appliances would look and fit in their kitchens. They realised an immediate 7% uplift in conversion rate. When they promoted and optimized the tool and added more explanation, they realised an additional 2.5% conversion rate uplift.

Are You Optimizing Your Tech Stack?

Given the amount of time and money your business is spending on technology, it’s smart to make sure your technology is delivering value. These five strategies can help you optimize your tech stack and get the most out of your technology investment.

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