Implementing AMP For E-commerce

John Saunders
By John Saunders

If you do business in the e-commerce marketplace, there’s an emerging tool that you should be using to help boost your sales. It’s called AMP, and in this post, we’re going to discuss what it is, and why and how you should implement AMP into your e-commerce marketing efforts.

What Is AMP?

Our sister post on Setting Up AMP Pages for WordPress lays out AMP pretty well, but here’s a quick refresher.

AMP is an open-source initiative created by Google as part of its mobile-first index. AMP stands for Accelerated Mobile Page, which, as the name would suggest, helps to improve the load-time of your web pages on mobile devices. Essentially, AMP makes your mobile website faster. Much faster.

Now that almost everyone has a smartphone, the majority of web browsing is now conducted with a mobile device. Mobile users also expect pages to load on their phones just as fast as they would on their desktop, however, this isn’t what web pages were designed to do. Since they were created with a desktop experience in mind, many pages will have rich media content that is slow to load on a mobile device if they haven’t been properly configured for mobile.

AMP steps into the void and helps to solve this problem, by creating sleek versions of your main site content to be more easily digested on mobile, leading to a much faster load time.

This can be especially valuable with e-commerce since a slow load time can often lead users to quickly bail on making a purchase. Having your web pages set up for AMP can help to eliminate any buyer frustration and lead to more revenue. Sounds pretty great, right?

It is. And if you have an e-commerce business, you should absolutely be utilizing this tool, as more and more sales are coming from mobile.

Related: AMP Pages: Why They Matter

Why Should You Implement AMP For E-commerce?

Creating an enjoyable mobile experience is absolutely essential to closing a sale. The first, and perhaps most important reason to implement AMP on your e-commerce site is to reduce your bounce rate.

Reduce Your Bounce Rates On Site Pages

As we mentioned, if a page is slow to load, it can often make a person who was ready to make a purchase change their mind and abort the decision. We’re talking just a matter of a couple seconds here. Those people will even be less likely to return to your site for a future purchase. Not great!

More than that, bounce rate is a ranking factor in SEO, so every time someone leaves when your page is too slow to load it negatively affects your SEO. Having a faster load time will encourage users to spend more time on your site and view more content. This helps improve your visibility and boost your SEO by reducing your bounce rate.

Improve Your User Experience

Improving your mobile speed will boost your potential buyer’s overall user experience. As you might have guessed, speed is incredibly important when it comes to e-commerce and shopping online. Those sites that load quickly will also be promoted higher in mobile search engine results.

AMP is a tool you can use to improve your speed and get your e-commerce site performing better in search results. Being just “mobile-friendly” is no longer enough. As Google continues to shift to a mobile-first environment, you need to have the maximum speed to compete.

Since a fast page helps with conversions, there isn’t much reason for an e-commerce site to not implement AMP. It will improve your customer experience and should increase your conversions. eBay implemented AMP back in 2016, so what are you waiting for?

Improve Your Click-Through Rates

Google actually lets users know if a page has been optimized for mobile with an AMP symbol. If your page has implemented AMP, Google will display the little AMP symbol next to the link in the search results. This helps your content stand out from your competition, and as consumers begin to recognize that the AMP symbol means content will load faster, they’ll be more likely to click those links in the future.

Tips To Implement AMP For E-Commerce

Although AMP was initially created to help make static content like blog posts and articles load faster, it has become a really effective method for improving load speed for online shopping, an environment where people want information as quickly as possible. The implementation process can be a little tricky depending what functions you’d like to perform, so read on to see what works for you and your business.

You Don’t Need To Implement AMP On Every Part Of Your Website

This is probably a relief if you have a ton of pages involved with your e-commerce site. But no, you don’t need to apply AMP to everything. Take a strong inventory of the different sections of your site to see where it makes the most sense to utilize AMP. When deciding what pages you’d like to implement AMP upon, try to visualize the funnel through which users flow through your site to make a purchase.

A homepage is a great place to start and will probably showcase some of your most important products. Other pages such as product categories, of individual product pages, may also benefit from improved speed, especially if they have a lot of images or videos on them. The load time for these pages will be critical to create a good user experience and turn the site visits into sales.

Create A More Customized Shopping Experience

With e-commerce, your conversion rate should always be a high priority, and a faster load time will only serve to benefit this rate. As we mentioned previously, slow load times lead to people aborting their purchase decision, but fast pages via AMP allow for customized content without sacrificing any speed. Through AMP, you can tailor your shopping experience without sacrificing anything as far as speed.

Related: Google AMP Update for 2018

What Is AMPs Impact On E-Commerce SEO?

While improving your speed and reducing your bounce rate, implementing AMP should have a positive effect on your site’s SEO. This isn’t a direct correlation (yet), but since Google promotes AMP pages at the top of SERPs, there is certainly plenty of motivation to make your e-commerce pages AMP-compatible.

What Features Should You Implement On E-Commerce Sites?

The user experience typically begins on your homepage or product category page, so there are some specific components that may work best for these pages. For instance, using the AMP-carousel provides users with the optimal mobile method of browsing other products. Your products will be arranged by sub-categories and a user simply swipes through them to view the different products. This allows multiple pieces of content to be easily viewed on a single page.

On the individual product pages, AMP can help create a more visually pleasing mobile experience to better showcase your product. The AMP-carousel can again be used here, as well as AMP-video elements. There is also the AMP-accordion feature that helps with more detailed product descriptions, so the user can expand as they want, without having a mass chunk of text cluttering the page unless they click it.

There is also an AMP-social share feature that allows users to share your products on their social media pages, which can be huge for e-commerce sites, as it puts more eyes on your products immediately. The AMP-sidebar will let users easily navigate to other portions of your site.

Track Your Site Performance With Google Analytics

Using Google Analytics in conjunction with AMP can help you learn your user behavior, and see how they are engaging with your site. This can help you tailor content to your shoppers and provide the best possible environment for conversions.

AMP Impact On The Purchase Experience

When a user goes to make a purchase, they will often transition from an AMP-only page to HTML. When this happens, you will want to make sure the transition is as subtle as possible, and matches the experience they have enjoyed thus far. If they feel like they are going to a different site, it might influence their purchase decision.

To make the process as seamless as possible, AMP has a script that your browser will run in the background. The service worker will help to match the page with the rest of your AMP content and keep their experience consistent and fast. This will create app-like speed for the purchase process and also enable you to cache information at the same time.

Are There Any Drawbacks To Implementing AMP For E-commerce?

Yes, there are a few potential drawbacks. One being that product reviews, which can be a valuable component in online shopping, are often loaded via a JavaScript library that isn’t supported by AMP. Another is that since AMP pages are so streamlined, it often affects advertising. It may take some work to get both to work correctly on your AMP pages, but the effort might just be worth it once you see the improvements in speed and performance.

Overall, creating a faster and better user experience for your e-commerce site should lead to more conversions and sales.

John is the Director of Web Development at Power Digital and thrives on the balance between creative and strategy. Using his experience in CRO, John approaches website builds with the user in mind, combining psychological and technical aspects of design.