Why fast loading is crucial for e-commerce websites?
In the era of connected devices, where almost everyone holds a smartphone and/or a tablet, it is crucial for retailers to pay close attention to their websites loading speed. Users, which are potential buyers, are demanding fast loading websites so information, product or services are checked within seconds.
What is the current state on the current state of e-commerce?
According to latest research conducted by Statista:
- Online shoppers are using mobile devices to track deliveries, compare prices, search for retail coupon
- During the third quarter of 2016, m-commerce accounted for 20% of digital commerce expenditure in the U.S. with signals for further growth
- By 2020, m-commerce is projected to account for nearly 50% of all e-commerce sales in U.S.
- Smartphone is the preferred device for shopping online, accounting for 70% of all mobile transactions in the U.S.
- 57% of the smartphone buyers in the U.S. bought a service or product via mobile app, and about 43% of them opted for mobile websites
These are just a few facts revealing the tendencies in e-commerce and they clearly speak that the retailers have no choice but to follow the users in terms of offering great user experience.
Some statistics on loading speeds of popular online retailers
Earlier this year, Pingdom performed tests on website loading speeds of popular online retailers:
- Fastest site loads in under 0.5 seconds
- 78% of the top retail sites had a load time under 3 seconds, while only 6% take 5 seconds or longer to load
- The fastest website was bhphotovideo.com, followed by hm.com and bestbuy.com
- At the bottom are taobao.com and yoox.com with average loading time of 8.32 seconds
- Regarding the web performance measured by YSlow, only one website from the top 50 e-commerce sites (bhphotovideo.com) was awarded and overall “A” grade. The majority of the sites (31 of 50) received “D” grade or lower.
User behaviour (Every second counts)
It is really important to know how users feel about e-commerce websites and what is their experience. To a large extent, users behaviour determines how successful is the retail business. Of course, the quality of products or services also plays an important role.
Let’s face it, if your retail website is slow, do you think users will wait to learn how great your service or product is?
The very real costs of bad website performance (Aberdeen Group – August 2016)
- 43% of website visitors are unsatisfied with website performance
- At just 3 seconds of delay, 40% of all websites see frustrated users leaving their business behind
- Desktop web users behaviour – at 1s delay 6% leave; at 2s of delay 7% leave; at 3s delay 21% leave
- Mobile web users – at 1s of delay 5% leave; at 2s of delay 14% leave; at 3s of delay 20% leave
What can be done to stop losing visitors?
1. Choose your e-commerce platform carefully
Most open source e-commerce platforms are quite heavy and depend on many plugins to ensure that an e-commerce website is fully operational. Check for new technologies which are focused on better user experience and are mobile-first.
Webadviser.io is offering a high-performing and fast alternative to monolith e-commerce platform. Check it out here.
2. Use Content Delivery Network (CDN)
Using a CDN has many benefits. Serving content (documents, text, graphics, stylesheets and scripts) to your users through it means high performance.
3. Minimize HTTP requests
The different bits and pieces (media files, scripts and stylesheets) from your website must be downloaded and every download is counted as an HTTP requires. If your website is full of different files and elements, it will increase the loading time. To do so, make sure all scripts are linked at the bottom of the page. Combine stylesheets into one.
4. Optimize images
If your website relies on visual content, make sure that every image file is optimized. Resist the temptation of putting large and not optimized images. Upload images with their exact sizes and do not resize them in with width and height parameters. Use JPGs and PNGs. You can use SVG for icons and other graphics. No bitmaps and TIFFs.
5. Use less plugins
Do not use plugins for every single thing that comes to your mind. Sometimes, issues and ideas can be addressed with pure HTML and CSS instead of heavy plugins that will slow down loading time. Plugins that are required to be used all the time can be disabled and enabled only when needed.
6. Reduce server response time
The ideal server responsive time (ad least for now) is less than 200ms. If you are having anything more than that, your site is not that fast. Using YSlow and GTMetrix can help you measure it and you will receive some tips on fixing it.
Some of these recommendations can sound quite overwhelming, especially if you are not sure how to fix your website issues.
Just remember that every second counts for your users and there is no point of offering great services or products on a slow website where almost no one visits.
If you need some help from professionals, you can send is a request and we will be able to give you a hand.