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Studies show that online shoppers are an inpatient lot:

why web perf matters for ecommerce

Source: Kissmetrics

At the same time, users have high expectations for your site’s features. Not only do consumers expect to see a large number of detailed product images, they expect the latest and greatest from your site in terms of technologies used. Despite this, viewers expect your heavily-laden site to perform on mobile devices as well as, if not better than, that on a laptop or a desktop. Therefore, it is important for you to balance the demands of your users for large websites with the corresponding increase in lag that such pages cause.

Why? The speed of a website, especially in terms of page load times, as well as the usability of the site, is a huge factor in bounce rates and shopping cart abandonment. Reducing bounce rates and cart abandonment is crucial. When you improve on and optimize the performance of your site, you are improving the efficiency of your resource usage and directly increasing the revenues of your business.

Providing an Optimal User Experience

In 2008, Amazon released a metric that, while somewhat outdated and sometimes contested, has become the benchmark for site performance: for every 100 milliseconds of latency, 1% of sales is lost. Given that, in 2015, Amazon earned $107 billion in revenue, this 1% adds up quickly. Google claims that a slowdown of four tenths of a second would result in 8 million fewer searches per day (with a corresponding decrease in ad views). Similarly, you may be facing a similar type of revenue loss due to poor page performance, and as such, improving your site correlates directly with increased income.

In addition to ensuring that your site loads as quickly as possible, you will want to ensure that your page works as well for mobile users as it does for those on laptops or desktops. In our hyperconnected world, more and more consumers are using their mobile devices for shopping-related activities (in the past five years, the number of consumers making purchases on mobile devices has increased 2.5 times). In terms of expenditures, mobile consumers are 2.5 times as likely to make purchases of $250 or more than those on desktop or laptop computers.

why web perf matters for ecommerce

Source: Moovweb

Given this, consider that many claim mobile experiences to be the most unsatisfying and that 60% of users claim that they’ve encountered issues while browsing the Internet in the past twelve months, including:

  • The site was too slow to load
  • The site crashed, froze, or threw an error
  • The site was formatted in a way that was unreadable
  • The site didn’t function as expected
  • The site was unavailable

All of these things negatively impact a user’s experience and cause undue frustration. In addition to the increased chance that the user did not complete the transaction at the time of the error, it is likely the user will not return to the site for future transactions as well and will not refer the site to their friends and family. These facts are borne out by the Gomez Peak Time Internet Usage Study, which was conducted by Equation Research on 1500 consumers:

  • Over 75% of consumers left a given shopping site for a competitor’s rather than sit and wait for a slow page to render
  • 88% of consumers say they are less likely to return to a site after a bad experience
  • Almost half say that they view the company itself in a negative light after a single bad experience with the company’s website
  • Over 33% of consumers told their other people about a disappointing experience they had with a website

On top of losing out on customers that are already on the webpage, poor optimization can result in fewer new leads as well. For those eCommerce businesses that rely not on direct referrals, but search engine optimization, to bring in new consumers, mobile optimization is of utmost importance. Many of the major search providers have made the availability of a mobile site a key component of a site’s ranking, and ignoring this will result in a less than optimal ranking for your site. To ensure optimal placement in search results, your site must be built in a way that provides a quality experience for users of all types of devices.

Conclusion

Perception matters to the user, and despite the fact that many purchases still take place on laptops or desktop computers, over half of a consumer’s time spent on the site is done using a mobile device. To maximize the revenue brought in by your eCommerce site, it is important to ensure a quality experience for all of your users, regardless of the device they choose to use.  

At the same time that eCommerce continues to grow, especially in the area of mobile shopping, users expect your site to provide an experience built using large amounts of heavy resources (such as images and videos) and the latest features and technologies. This results in larger and larger websites that are being requested by devices that typically run on slower networks. Despite this, customer expectations continue to get higher and higher, and your site’s performance remains a crucial factor in terms of how satisfied your viewers are and, correspondingly, whether they return to your site or not. Given the small profit margins present in eCommerce, improving your user’s satisfaction rates and improving your site conversion can mean the difference between success or not.

To improve your site’s performance, you have to know what is causing any slowdowns on your site. For a detailed report with information on how your site is doing, please contact Rigor for a free customized performance report.

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