PERFORMANCE INSIGHT

HeadSpin Proposes Speed Optimizations as Fresh Pick for Kroger

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Overview and Methodology For Our Analysis

Industry:

Shopping

Device/Network/Location:

iPhone X / AT&T / Seattle

Products Used:

HeadSpin Connected Intelligence Platform

Recommendations:                                                             

  • Optimize slow server
  • Utilize connection reuse
  • Optimize .png images
  • HeadSpin analyzed the latest version of the Kroger iOS app on a real iPhone X in Seattle, on the AT&T network.
  • NO SDK, code change or instrumentation was needed to run the remote performance sessions.
  • HeadSpin’s AI engine sifted through network traffic, client-side metrics, and videos of the test execution to find areas of poor user experience and performance bottlenecks.
  • Recommendations were provided for every issue that was surfaced.
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User Reviews

Kroger is doing very well overall in terms of user ratings on the App Store.

HeadSpin looked at Kroger reviews in the App Store and found some users struggling with functional issues and technical errors.

Kroger’s ratings is currently 4.8/5 on the App Store.

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Insights and Recommendations

HeadSpin’s proprietary AI technology analyzes and prioritizes the core issues impacting critical user journeys. Using computer vision techniques to quantify blank screens, time to interact, loading time, loading or buffering animations, and content quality, our AI models can automatically diagnose server-side issues whether they arise from infrastructure deployment issues, poor performance, or API errors. For a custom analysis of your app, request a Performance Insight report from HeadSpin. 

HeadSpin Performance Session (link)

We have analysed the performance of Kroger during the below Critical User Journeys:

  1. First launch
  2. Signup
  3. Search for items and add to basket

During our analysis we have found the below issues for the different user journeys that Kroger can benefit from fixing.

1. First Launch
Time to first interaction 2.1 sec

During our analysis we have experienced long loading times in a number of scenarios. The most critical one is during First Launch. The time users have to wait to interact with the app should be minimized as much as possible as increased Time to first interaction (TTI) can directly affect your retention and conversion metrics.

In our session we have used the below screen to be our control screen to the time to first meaningful interaction which is when your users can start interacting with the app.

Slow Server

Slow Server Impact Time640ms
The application waited longer than 500 ms to receive the first byte in HTTP responses from these hosts.
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HEADSPIN RECOMMENDATION: The slower than optimal response time could be due to a number of reasons, long server side operations, serving resources from the incorrect edge of a CDN.

We recommend that you investigate the above hosts and try to reduce the overall response time to be within the optimal 500ms response time by doing so Walmart can shave off 640ms of the overall TTI.

If the requests are not relevant to the current user context then consider staggering those requests throughout the user journey.

2. Sign Up

  Sign Up  12sec  

The signup process took almost 12 seconds to complete which is considered to be excessive. Shorter onboarding time is key to decreasing your application’s churn rate.

We have analysed the network traffic from the Signup journey and found the below issues that Kroger can benefit from fixing.

Connection Reuse

  Connection Reuse Impact Time     4.5 sec  

During Signup Kroger created new TCP connections instead of reusing existing ones. Each additional TCP connection comes with its own overheads TLS handshake, Waiting, Receiving Data, etc..

The new TCP connections were made to the below hosts.

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HEADSPIN RECOMMENDATION: Check the keep-alive settings on the host server. If keep-alive connections aren’t enabled, or if the keep-alive timeout is set too low, client connections will be terminated prematurely, resulting in unnecessary TCP/TLS handshakes.

If Korger uses the already established connections the Signup time could be reduced by 4.5 seconds.

Slow Server

  Slow Server Impact Time    6.35 sec 
The application waited longer than 500 ms to receive the first byte in HTTP responses from these hosts.
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HEADSPIN RECOMMENDATION: The slower than optimal response time could be due to a number of reasons, long server side operations, serving resources from the incorrect edge of a CDN.

We recommend that you investigate the above hosts and try to reduce the overall response time to be within the optimal 500ms response time by doing so Walmart can shave off 6.35sec of the overall Signup time.

If the requests are not relevant to the current user context then consider staggering those requests throughout the user journey.

3. Search and Add Items

  Average search time    2.4 sec  
The average time it took to return a search result was 2.4 seconds. This can be further reduced if the below issues are fixed.

Connection Reuse

  Connection Reuse Impact Time   814 ms  
During the Search journey the application made multiple connections to the same host within a short time span.
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HEADSPIN RECOMMENDATION: Check the keep-alive settings on the host server. If keep-alive connections aren’t enabled, or if the keep-alive timeout is set too low, client connections will be terminated prematurely, resulting in unnecessary TCP/TLS handshakes.

If Korger uses the already established connections the Signup time could be reduced by 814ms.

Slow Server

  Slow Server Impact Time    1.4 sec  

The application waited longer than 500 ms to receive the first byte in HTTP responses from these hosts.

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HEADSPIN RECOMMENDATION: The slower than optimal response time could be due to a number of reasons, long server side operations, serving resources from the incorrect edge of a CDN.

We recommend that you investigate the above hosts and try to reduce the overall response time to be within the optimal 500ms response time by doing so Walmart can shave off 1.4sec of the overall Search time.

Unoptimized Resources

The app downloads product images in the .png format. Although the PNG format can achieve optimum compression for content with high contrast or large areas of solid color (e.g. icons), for photo-like content with soft gradients PNG will result in a large increase in file size relative to JPEG for little gain. Consider using a lossy image format such as JPEG or WebP to balance performance with perceptual quality.

If the image asset contains text, consider using a web font instead. Text in images is not selectable, searchable, or accessibility-friendly.

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How to Work With HeadSpin

HeadSpin Powers Flawless Mobile App Performance

HeadSpin’s state-of-the-art Digital Experience Intelligence Platform™ will empower your engineering teams to:

  • Execute automation tests on real carrier-enabled devices worldwide
  • Discover performance bottlenecks
  • Collect and visualize your performance data
  • Seamlessly integrate with your CI/CD workflow
  • Monitor every critical user flow of your mobile experience
  • Pinpoint issues that cause performance regressions and impact user experience earlier in your development cycle
Overarching Areas of Opportunities

  • Launch new features confidently by monitoring and analyzing root causes of performance issues throughout the development life cycle
  • Drive new user installs and user engagement with optimized performance
  • Forge user trust and safety, accelerating consumer services for critical user paths across your apps and website
  • Benchmark KPIs for mobile performance to understand how your user experience for your mobile app and website compares to your peers in the same industry
  • Support localized testing across 32,000+ devices and 160+ countries around the world, on real devices under real-world conditions
Expert Holistic Consultation and Strategy 

HeadSpin has the product and solutions expertise to help you perfect the digital experience for your customers! Our team hails from digital pioneers, such as Google and Facebook, and has already delivered enhanced mobile-centric experiences for a diverse set of Fortune 1000 clients. HeadSpin’s strategic insights can help you:

  • Drive new user acquisition, user engagement, and feature adoption
  • Deploy app security measures on iOS and Android
  • Build consistent performance standards and experiences across all your mobile apps and websites 

... insight from HeadSpin helps us prioritize issues so we could deliver a better user experience.

Maria Zhang, CTO, Tinder