If you run an ecommerce site, you already know that your product has to be accessible to the user to be sold. To access a product, the user needs to be led to a website and the exact product page.
If this process is slow, you may have a problem. When a site doesn’t load in under 3 seconds, a patient user may refresh it once to give it another go, while the average user will instantly bounce away from the site to a new one immediately. This makes up 47% of the overall shoppers, which is an alarming number for an ecommerce retailer.
A website’s performance has just recently started being an important factor for ecommerce entrepreneurs. On the internet, time is money. It is everything, because it decides how long a trend stays and makes waves.
With fiber optic technology and internet speeds becoming faster than ever, the average user does not want to wait for more than a few seconds to see the website. What they don’t know is that sites are becoming heavier as a result. eCommerce giant Walmart found out that when their site load time went from 1 second to 4 seconds, they faced a sharp decline in sales. For 1 second of improvement, they saw a 2% boost in their sales.
Google doesn’t like slow websites:
The thing which really alarmed ecommerce website owners was a hint by Google about slower sites. Since Google is never open about the factors that are taken into account in the search engine algorithms, this hint gave away a lot of information for those who make their living off the interwebs.
In their Webmaster Central Blog, it was stated that site speed was certainly a ranking factor for websites. Here’s a little excerpt from the post:
You may have heard that here at Google we’re obsessed with speed, in our products and on the web. As part of that effort, today we’re including a new signal in our search ranking algorithms: site speed. Site speed reflects how quickly a website responds to web requests.
The major reason for taking site performance into account was to check the usability of a website. Google always ranks websites higher when they are of better use to the searchers.
The post states that faster sites result in happier users and their internal studies show that users don’t feel satisfied when they face a dead end site or a snail-speed loading site. So, if you sell good on the internet, your motto is to make customers happy. To make customers happy (and rank high in the SERPs as well), you need to tweak your website to load in under 3 seconds.
What is the ideal load speed?
The ultimate question: What is the ideal loading speed? Keep in mind that not only should the desktop version of your site load faster, but so should the mobile version. This year, Google is all about judging the mobile interfaces of websites, and you must tell that to your web developer. Research by Doubleclick states that the average load time of a mobile site is 19 seconds or more. The study then moved on to state that;
‘Slow loading sites frustrate users and negatively impact publishers. In our new study, “The Need for Mobile Speed”, we found that 53% of mobile site visits are abandoned if pages take longer than 3 seconds to load.’
It then moved on to assess that;
‘sites that load in 5 seconds vs. 19 seconds observed: 25% higher ad viewability (and) 70% longer average sessions (and) 35% lower bounce rates’
Finally, the study concluded on this result:
‘While there are several factors that impact revenue, our model projects that publishers whose mobile sites load in 5 seconds earn up to 2x more mobile ad revenue than those whose sites load in 19 seconds.’
This is still not written in stone, but you should aim for either 5 or less than 5 seconds in load time.
Site speed vs. conversions:
The main message these statistics deliver is that faster sites lead to more conversions. Firefox improved site speed by 2.2 seconds and increased their downloads by 15.4%. Your site should also aim for better load speed to attract more customers. Conversion rate optimization is as relevant as ever to your business in 2017.
- Obama’s fundraising campaign increased their conversions by 14% when they decreased site load speed from 5 to 2 seconds
- com saw a positive boost of conversions of up to 7% when they reduced page bloat by 68% and load time by 64%.
- AliExpress states in a presentation that they reduced load time of their pages by 36% to see an increase in conversions by 27% and a 10.5% increase in orders.
- Instagram, the popular photo app and website, increased their impressions and user profile scrolls simply by speeding up their website a little more.
Your slow checkout pages are killing your conversions as well. Think of it this way; after spending so much on Pay Per Click ads and traditional marketing to bring a customer to your site, it can be a deal breaker if these pages don’t load in the first place.
Forrester has already announced that 3 out of 10 shopping carts make it to the end of the checkout process. You should not let your website performance fail to satisfy customers who smoothly reach the end of your conversion funnel.
The verdict: Tweak your website
If you website does run fast and loads in under 3 or 5 seconds, then it maybe a moment of peace for you. In the case where you are struggling with site speed, consult with professionals who can smoothly optimize your site speed or do it yourself by using Google-recommended tools like Page Speed, Yslow or Web Page Test.
Secondly, you should also check the relevance of your page to see if site speed affects its rankings at all. In the end, your ecommerce site should revolve around user experience and usability.