In his time as Director of E-Commerce at home goods retailer Linen Chest, Riaz Faride was faced with a challenge right out of the gate. He found himself responsible for a site that had page load times ranging anywhere from 6 to 30 seconds. Linen Chest’s site was heavy, images were hosted on the origin, and code was never refactored and needed to be optimized. Riaz knew he needed to make some changes, and fast.
"The day I got here, I had to hit the ground running. There was no time for experimenting."
As a former programmer, Riaz knew the importance of performance for his e-commerce website. As he sees it, better performance means a better conversion rate.
"Customers need to load a page in 2-3 seconds. If you can achieve that, then they can browse through the site longer, resulting in more sessions. And more sessions lead to more sales."
Based on his extensive e-commerce experience, Riaz understood that high-quality images are effective in engaging online shoppers but also present a barrier to web performance. When evaluating Linen Chest’s image strategy, Riaz saw several places it could realize web performance benefits by enlisting a cloud image-optimization solution. So what did he do next? Enlist Akamai for help.
"At my previous company I saw what Akamai can do as a platform and how they can help retailers. It was a no-brainer for me, I went straight to Akamai and they proved me right."
With Akamai’s Image Manager, Linen Chest was able to help solve its page weight and performance problems by streamlining workflows, automating creation and management, optimizing delivery, and offloading web images.
"We can now offer the highest quality, 2x resolution images without fear of lag issues on the customer side."
The impact wasn’t limited to workflows. By achieving quality without compromise, Linen Chest was delivering lighter and faster pages. As a result, improved site performance was seen across a variety of metrics, proving Riaz’s hypothesis that better performance can significantly drive business results.
"Without adding any new sources of traffic, we saw higher engagement — an increase of page views, sessions, and conversions. Akamai and Image Manager’s capabilities played a significant role in that growth"
Optimizing images for maximum visual quality and performance improves end-user experiences for websites and mobile apps. Automated optimizations can cut image prep time and reduce the cost and effort to create and transform images, speeding time to market. Storing and delivering images in the cloud reduces storage cost and leverages real user data to intelligently deliver the best image to every end-user.
THEN: Cropping and resizing images from one “master” image was done manually.
NOW: Image Manager saves time and effort and reduces human error by automatically creating multiple sizes and variants for marketing and product images.
THEN: Converting CMYK images to RGB images was done manually, and Linen Chest had no ability to create separate WebP image files for Chrome browsers.
NOW: Color conversions and file format requirements are handled automatically by Image Manager.
THEN: Heavy images were hosted at origin and then loaded into its uploader, causing slowness and images that were not sized appropriately for mobile and tablet shoppers.
NOW: Images are hosted on Akamai’s NetStorage which significantly reduces requests to origin and increases offload. Images are also automatically resized for the viewable screen area of the requesting device.
THEN: To prevent image performance lag on the customer side — especially on mobile devices — creative was forced to significantly compress and reduce images rather than use the crisp, high-resolution images it wanted.
NOW: Image Manager’s Perceptual Quality Algorithm reduces bytes without impacting the perceived quality of the image, meaning mobile users receive rich images without performance penalties and creative can provide 2x resolution images for higher pixel density screens.