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Wayfair Finds Half a Second Speedup Equals 10% More Customers

How Wayfair Uses Torbit to Measure Their Performance and Quantify the Value of Speed


Wayfair is a top online retailer that gives customers easy online access to a zillion things home – all in one place. Offering an unparalleled selection of home items, Wayfair carries over 5,000 brands of products ranging from furniture to cookware, and everything in between. The fast-growing company had revenues of more than $500 million last year.


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We sat down with Jonathan Klein, head of the performance team at Wayfair, to hear how they are using Torbit Insight to give them access to vital performance metrics. Here is what Klein had to say:

Through Insight’s conversion view and bounce rate view, we were able to show that reducing our landing page load time from 2 seconds to 1.5 seconds would mean that 10% of customers wouldn’t bounce who would have bounced at the higher load time. That’s huge. By shaving half a second off our loading time on our landing pages, we’ll have 10% more customers on our sites.

Wayfair hopes to increase its revenue by 50-75% this year. With over 2,500,000 visitors per week, website performance is an extremely important component of converting a visitor into a paying customer. Wayfair was looking for a performance tool that would pinpoint areas of their site in need of improvement. They also wanted a tool that would allow them to see real timing data from real users before making decisions that could affect their performance. Klein added:

Site speed is obviously critical for e-commerce businesses and any website, in general. And for a long time we’ve looked at all the data from Amazon, Shopzilla, and other ecommerce companies and we really wanted to get our own data and be able to say, ‘Look, this is data from real customers showing the correlation with load time and business metrics.’

Insight was able to meet their needs, and help obtain their goal. Torbit Insight allows them to monitor 100% of their pages in real time. “In the past for full-page load time, we’ve had a lot of synthetic monitoring, but never real user monitoring to the degree Insight gives us,” says Klein. “And the big benefit of that is we can go back to the business with real data from our actual customers and say, ‘Here’s the value of improving the performance of the site’, which really justifies the ROI of investing time and energy into those projects. Having this data really enables us to make decisions from a business point of view based on performance and based on customer behavior that can impact us in a big way.”

Insight provides multiple views that gives Wayfair a new window into performance on their website. Not only can they see how their site performance is affecting their overall customer experience, but also how speed is affecting their bottom line.

Conversions, bounce rate & speed

“Insight’s conversion view is my favorite, because it really allows us to make the business case for performance. Up until now we didn’t have that at Wayfair. This really enabled us to say, ‘Okay, if we reduced the load time of a landing page by ‘x’ number of milliseconds, we’ll get ‘x’ number of dollars out of that.’ Being able to come back to the business with actual data from our real customers, measured yesterday, that shows the value of improving the performance of our site was a really big deal for us.

Through the conversion view and bounce rate view, we were able to show that reducing our landing page load time from 2 seconds to 1.5 seconds would mean that 10% of customers wouldn’t bounce – customers who otherwise would have bounced at the higher load time. That’s significant. By shaving half a second off our loading time on our landing pages, we’ll have 10% more customers on our sites.”

Looking beyond averages

“The great thing about the histogram view is that it can really show you the distribution of load times across your site. So if you have one subset of customers that loads slower than another set – for example, logged in versus not logged in users – you can see that in the distribution of load times. It’s a really great way to visualize your data.”

Real time feedback

“At Wayfair, we’re a continuous integration shop, so we deploy code 30 to 40 times a day, which makes it very, very hard to correlate just by looking at revenue day after day what changes impacted things. In the real time view, you can actually push out a change and immediately watch the impact and know it’s correlated with that change. It updates every second, so you can see exactly how your changes are impacting customer behavior and load time on the site.”

Actionable data

“We also love the drill down view. Being able to see the distribution of load times across the United States or across the world is important for us. Also, being able to break it down by browser, so we can more easily see if there’s a performance problem, allows us to tune the code and make it perform better in that browser.”

Advice for other internet retailers

“We started looking at Insight and the data was so much more rich, and so much more developed than anything else that we could find. The ability to drill down to the map view, the browser view, or the conversion view – it really justified the value of going with the product. If you’re a company looking at one of these products it makes sense to take a long, hard look at Torbit. I don’t know of anywhere else you can get this data, and it’s evolving so rapidly. I believe they’re going to be an industry leader.”

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