Is the Speed of your eCommerce Site Hurting Conversions?
Slow loading time on your ecommerce site can have a negative impact on sales, conversions and user experience. This is highlighted by a recent study by digital agency, Intesols.
They found that:
- the majority of online shoppers will abandon an ecommerce site if it takes more than 2 seconds to load, while 40% of them will abandon it in 3 seconds
- after abandoning a website, 78% of consumers will go to a competitor’s site
- abandonment rate is even higher on mobile devices
- the conversion rate of an ecommerce website increases by 74% when the speed is optimised from 8 to 2 seconds
These statistics apply for every page on your site, whether a sub-product category, a flash sale page or an out-of-stock product. Besides the apparent negative effects on your customers, load-time also has SEO implications, as Google ranks faster websites higher than slower ones.
How do you accurately check the speed and loading time of a website?
A website that has a fast server loading time, may still look slower to a shopper on a slow internet connection and vice versa.
There are many tools to check the speed of a website and to evaluate whether or not it needs to be optimized. The most popular are:
– Google PageSpeed Insights
– Yahoo YSlow
-Web Page Analyser
– “Which loads faster?” (here you can compare the speed of two websites)
Results of some popular ecommerce websites are displayed below. You can use these as a benchmark when optimizing your site.
- Amazon.com: 83/100
- Ebay.com: 86/100
- Walmart.com: 37/100
- Staples.com: 54/100
- Target.com: 69/100
- Zulily.com: 72/100
- Overstock.com: 84/100
- Newegg.com: 66/100
- Nordstrom.com: 75/100
- Gilt.com: 63/100
How do you keep the speed of an ecommerce site in check and optimize it when necessary?
Less Page Size—More Speed
Keep optimizing until you reach a 2 second loading time.
Improve Indexing and AJAX Search
Many of your clients visit your website directly and use the search bar to find the product they are looking for. If this process runs fast and smoothly then the likelihood of the customer converting increases significantly.
Indexing your products will greatly increase the speed of the search queries. Indexes, however, tend to become big as new products are added. AJAX based searches are a viable option in this case. An AJAX search reduces the need of a page refresh when the customer adds a new parameter to the search, reducing the load time.
If the search parameters are changed, the AJAX search will only search the data that is needed not the entire database. For example if you are searching for Apple laptops, and then you decide to search for ASUS laptops too, then the search results will be displayed much faster and the page does not need to be refreshed.
Use Content Delivery Networks
Network latency increases with the distance between the client and the server under client-server architecture. For example this means that content located in the US will take more time to reach an online shopper in Europe than in the US itself.
To face this, modern ecommerce websites use content delivery networks (CDN). While using a CDN, a call on an ecommerce site is made to a remotely located external server rather than the main server. The external server then caches the content from the original server thus reducing the load time.
Use GZIP Compression
Gzip compresses your webpages and style sheets before sending them over to the browser: This drastically reduces transfer and load time since the files are much smaller.
Companies tend to invest thousands of dollars in ecommerce development and not a fraction of that in optimizations. All those flashy images, sleek graphics or interactive product pages can go to waste if your customers are abandoning your website because of slow loading time. Take the necessary steps to ensure an optimal user experience. Start taking your ecommerce site’s speed seriously or risk losing customers.