Mack Weldon, a digitally native men's brand, has changed the game of basic essentials. With nearly $16M in eCommerce revenue flowing through the business annually, Mack Weldon’s founder and CEO, Brian Berger, credits the company’s success to using data and technology in key business decisions. Unfortunately, it appears that the brand has ignored the most crucial web development advancements that could cost the company millions: optimizing for website speed.
This is another example of digital native, online-first eCommerce websites that have neglected websites speed optimization and the modern frontend tools that let you drastically cut page load times. Another well known example is Warby Parker, which we showcased in our last installment.
From frustration to innovation
Berger founded Mack Weldon after experiencing frustration with the process of shopping for socks and underwear, just to receive a mediocre product. And since its launch in 2012, Mack Weldon has pushed the boundaries of what basic essentials can deliver, revolutionizing fit, comfort and style, while utilizing the highest quality of materials.
While the men’s retailer is forward thinking and adhere to a digital-first approach, it has neglected to utilize modern web technology to create a speed optimized customer journey from landing to checkout. Website speed has a tremendous impact on SEO, traffic, and conversion rates, and for online-first retailers with large transaction volumes, like Mack Weldon, the data backing site speed optimization is more important today than ever before.
From online-only to online-offline interactions
Mack Weldon has been recognized to have modernized timeless basics into performance fabrications and garments. Debuting as an online-only, premium underwear brand, it has successfully continued product expansion in other categories. “We have a very specific and a very restrictive approach when it comes to what we make,” said Berger.
In March of 2019, the retailer opened its first brick-and-mortar store in New York City's Hudson Yards. Technologically driven, the store displays the Mack Weldon website on tablets to showcase information on the innovative fabrics used, loyalty programs offered, and company promises. Berger explains opening this door aligned perfectly with the company's mission to create a more convenient customer experience. This rings true especially for Generation Z shoppers who prefer a blended model of digital and physical experiences. The cohort gravitates toward a mix of trends, enjoying the speed of brick-and-mortar shopping experiences with the information and options available online.
Fast page loads enhance the customer experience - proven through data
Mack Weldon has established itself as a company driven by data, technology, and experimentation, which guide their product and marketing strategies. And when a business rests predominantly online, it’s imperative to understand how consumers reach the site, how long they stay on it, and why they drop off of the path-to-purchase. Mack Weldon claims to know their customers’ expectations, but I proceed to counter that through data.
Based on data from Google’s Chrome User Experience Report, less than 3% of Mack Weldon’s site pages load in under one second. In contrast, 72.8% of Venus Fashion’s pages and 81.2% of Zara’s pages load in under one second for US consumers. With such a large gap between the website speeds of Mack Weldon and other apparel companies, it is clear that site speed optimization is a competitive differentiator.
70% of consumers state that page speed impacts their willingness to buy, and more will simply leave a site that does not meet their expectations for speed. The importance of site speed is not just based on customer impatience. Slow load times compromise search rankings, organic traffic, and ultimately eCommerce revenue. Amazon found that just a one second delay in page load could cost it $1.6 billion in sales each year. Moreover, website speed standards have evolved from three seconds to sub-second page loads. Forbes recently covered the new golden standard that businesses must meet or beat to receive conversions, and that is pages that load one second or less.
The eCommerce race to become the fastest site with modern tech
Berger believes that what sets strong eCommerce companies apart is through the quality of service they deliver to their customers. He calls out Bonobos and Dollar Shave as examples. Perhaps their customer relationships are strong, however, Dollar Shave Club and Bonobos are both using modern Single-Page Applications (SPA) for their frontend to deliver speedy page loads and a superior customer experience. And both of their sites see at least 10x more of their pages loading in under one second than the Mack Weldon site. This, I argue, is what satisfies customers and is what impacts their brand, SEO, customer experience, and ultimately their revenue.
IBIS World reported that online men’s clothing sales accounted for $23 billion in revenue in 2018. In order to unlock that sales potential in future years, you must optimize for website speed. This is easier said than done, especially when the new standards are sub-second.
Cutting page loads to sub-second levels requires a full stack approach that optimizes the browser, edge, and server. Layer0 is the only full stack solution to deliver instant page loads for database driven, enterprise eCommerce websites. Like Mack Weldon, we sweat the small stuff — like milliseconds. This is why we have worked to create a platform that consistently delivers median page load times of 320ms for enterprise eCommerce websites, which result in 15-30% lift in conversion rates.
Mack Weldon is a forward thinking men’s retailer that has neglected one crucial aspect for eCommerce growth: website speed optimization. The retailer lacks the modern web technologies (such as progressive web apps) that their competitors are using to optimize their websites for speed. eCommerce websites that have adopted these technologies are creating a standard for speed and enjoyed the fruits of their labor in terms of SEO and revenue lifts.
To stay ahead of the competition, you must speed optimize your entire stack. With a portable frontend, CDN-as-Code, and a Backend for Frontend (BFF) for Server-Side Rendering and auto-AMP creation, Layer0 delivers instant page loads for complex, database driven websites, regardless of the amount of trackers and tags they have. 1-800-Flowers, Venus Fashion, Shoe Carnival and Planet Blue are just a few examples of websites that have already chosen Layer0.
If site speed optimization is a priority for you, or if you simply believe your customers deserve the best experience possible, schedule a consultative conversation to learn how Layer0 can help bring you a competitive advantage with instant page loads.