A major outlook for 2017 is the increased adoption of both Service Workers and HTTPS everywhere across the web. These tools will help retailers create app-like web experiences that drive customer engagement and revenue. As such, we recommend retailers start planning initiatives for both these areas as part of their 2017 roadmaps.
Why should retailers implement Service Workers now?
The latest and greatest user experiences that come with Progressive Web Apps rely on both Service Workers and HTTPS everywhere. Service Workers are a new standard and browser capability that allows functionality to be executed in the background, even when the user isn’t currently visiting a given website in the browser. This seemingly simple but powerful paradigm unlocks a new set of current future capabilities that have traditionally been reserved for native applications.
Once a Service Worker is implemented and installed as part of an ecommerce website, we can take advantage of several key features:
- Web Push notifications can be used to drive engagement and revenue.
- Offline and caching capabilities, which in conjunction with other modern techniques such as code-splitting, preload and server push can increase page performance, resulting in reduced bounces and increased conversion rates
- Add to home-screen for launching in full-screen mode, which can increase user engagement 4x
Given the business impacts these features can have for retailers, we recommend customers prioritize Service Worker support as part of their roadmap.
Why HTTPS Everywhere?
First and foremost, Service Workers require HTTPS. So to take advantage of any uplifts from features noted above, retailers have to move to HTTPs across their entire ecommerce site. Beyond the set of feature enhancements, HTTPS everywhere has been recommended by industry giants such as Google for the following reasons.
1. Expectations: Customers are being trained to look for secure sites by default
As of January 2017, all users of Chrome (currently 1 billion installs and growing) will be warned with a Not Secure flag anytime they hit an non-HTTPS site:
Firefox is doing exactly same for an upcoming release based on sensitive information:
These browser vendors are taking a strong stance to make sure HTTPS everywhere becomes a default user expectation.
2. Organic search prefers HTTPS
As part of Google’s mission to embrace HTTPS everywhere, the Google search team has started using HTTPS sites as a strong ranking signal for their search ranking algorithms. Given retailers rely heavily on organic search, the expected boost in search ranking by investing in rolling out HTTPs broadly should be a quick pay off. Has your SEO performance dropped over the last year? Looking at HTTPS should be a strong consideration.
3. Future-proofing: Browsers and platforms are starting to support only HTTPS
Recently Chrome announced that specific features such as geo-location will only be supported over HTTPS. Other features such as recording images and audio will be subject to the same requirements. As websites become more app-like, supporting HTTPS everywhere will allow retailers to adopt the latest features as quickly as possible.
On top of that, Apple has been defaulting communication over the web to use HTTPS by default unless developers explicitly override this. This makes sense in a world where public wifi proliferation is common, and there is a need to protect users who are unaware of security risks over unknown public wifi networks.
HTTPS Everywhere isn’t Rocket Science (Anymore)
Unlike a few years back where enabling HTTPS on ecommerce platforms was difficult and impacted performance, this is no longer the case. Modern ecommerce platforms like Demandware support HTTPs across all pages, and retailers should configure these systems to use HTTPS by default. In fact, 70% of web traffic is now encrypted, meaning security conscious experiences like ecommerce should not fall behind the average.
Finally, it’s time to just be a good web citizen. The security and privacy of your users and the integrity of your brand deserve attention. HTTPS everywhere is a great step towards this. Join us in bringing HTTPS and Service Workers into the forefront for 2017 so we can make the web a great platform for shoppers and retailers.
Watch our webinar with Google’s Emily Schechter, Product Manager, Chrome Security, to learn more about why your entire website needs to be secure (not just your checkout pages).