In 2017 Profound Information was called in by Blackwoods to address performance challenges with two of its flagship trading websites. Blackwoods, part of the Wesfarmers group, has an extensive catalogue and trades in high-volumes with B2B customers.
Businesses with slow websites lose sales and lose customers. Addressing website performance issues can be one of the most important initial strategies to improve the profitability of a business.
The client wanted an across-the-board 300% improvement in the loading times of its website pages. The home page was typically taking 4 - 6 seconds to load - sometimes even 11 to 15 seconds. Responsibility for the delivery of the sites was spread across a number of teams and there was little visibility of the overall performance filtering to the executive level.
The main website was also slowing down over time as more products were added to the catalogue. A 25% increase in home page load times had occurred in the prior year.
Profound Information understands that it is a combination of people and technology that enables business systems to perform at their peak. Realising there was a highly compartmentalised approach within the business, the first step taken by Profound Information’s co-founder, Alan Perkins, was to bring together the relevant departments and facilitate discussions about the issue. Perkins garnered ideas from the teams themselves, and only suggested additional ideas when they weren’t forthcoming from the team. With some additional accountability introduced, the teams responded extremely well.
Among the technical work contributed by Profound Information was the co-ordination of the optimisation of code across multiple teams and the optimisation of both the client’s database and the loading of images onto the website.
Profound Information, working with the client's team members, together exceeded the client’s expectations by delivering:
- 600% - 800% improvement in the performance of the two websites
- Significant decrease in loading times to under 0.4 seconds
The improved performance led to increased hits on the websites, lower bounce rates, more time spent on the site and higher sales conversion rates.
- Custom Python app created to test the performance of various processes at different times of the day
- Pre-caching of common data.
- Load spreading across multiple servers
- Database optimisation
- Optimisation of image-loading
The improved performance led to increased hits on the websites, lower bounce rates, more time spent on the site and higher sales conversion rates