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Why website speed a top priority for eCommerce?

December 23, 2014 EC Milo Category : , , , , , ,

The average internet user is highly impatient and will not tolerate a website load time that is beyond 2 seconds. Therefore, if you opt to tolerate a slow loading website, you run the risk of losing users and potential customers to a competitor site. Now, more than ever, website speed has a direct impact on the business performance of e-commerce sites.

Here are three primary reasons why a fast loading site is crucial for e-commerce sites:

1. Improved Search Engine Visibility

Website speed important for search engines

 A necessary step in growing organic search traffic is gaining rankings for keywords that are relevant to your site and the products you offer. While there are various aspects to improving SEO, website speed is a ranking factor that seems to be growing in importance. After all, it does follow Google's focus to provide the best user experience possible.

In Searchmetrics' recent SEO Ranking Factor Report, site speed was a tested factor:

Indeed, the Site Speed for Google is measurable directly, while crawling pages, or indirectly via user signals such as CTR and Bounce Rate, and is most likely also a ranking criterion. Slow loading pages simply have poorer user signals.

Accelerated site speed adheres to Google's focus on providing the best possible experience for the user. As loading times increase, so do bounce rates. Additionally, search engine's typically struggle with crawling slower sites.

The study also reveals findings that draw connections between search rankings and load time. The average load time for the top 30 domains is 1.27 seconds and higher ranking websites typically have a load time of 2 seconds or less.  The study also indicates URLs in the first position of the SERP are faster loading than the rest of the results, citing CDNs (content delivery network) as a potential contributing factor:

URLs at position 1 load on average about five tenths of a second faster based on this calculation -faster than both the rest of the top ten positions, and faster than URLs at number 1 in the average calculation.

One possible explanation for this would be the presence of Content Delivery Networks (CDN). These connect via the Internet at station server networks (SSNs), and are used to optimize user-query performance. Data (the most frequently used content) is pre-cached and can be delivered faster and more efficiently for user requests.

2. Shoppers Can Easily Voice Their Opinions to the World

Sharing made easy by Internet

It is no surprise that online shoppers will not hesitate to abandon an unresponsive and slow loading website for competitor sites. However, aside from abandonment, users are not shy about sharing their unpleasant experiences with friends, family and their social sphere.

According to a study from Nielsen, 92% of people trust recommendations from their friends and family over any form of marketing communications. Given that people are more connected and prepared to share information on social media, a poor user experience can be quickly amplified through the interconnected social networks.

Social media has given users more power over their relationship with brands they interact with. Users are offered a significant amount of freedom to openly express their frustrations and unpleasant experiences with particular brands, and many choose to vent their dissatisfaction in this manner.

Here are some stats on how user social interactions can impact your site:

 31% of people post online after having a bad experience
 90% of consumers say buying decisions are influenced by online reviews
 Dissatisfied customers will make their displeasure known to 9-15 people

3. Growing E-commerce Revenue

Revenue grows with the website speed

 Appealing offers and a visually engaging site designs are among the top components to increasing conversion and generating revenue on e-commerce sites. However, user experience is a top priority as sites are becoming more global and catering to larger volumes of shoppers. A lag-free and responsive shopping experience is essential for reducing site and transaction abandonments.

According to a study conducted by Baymard Institute, over 67% of shopping carts are abandoned. There are several factors that lead to abandonment, but over 21% of the time it was due to a slow loading website. In addition to better deals and optimal usability, speed is also critical in retaining the shopper's attention and interest.

Studies show that reducing load time by just 3 seconds can increase revenue by up to 12%. Just by reducing website speed from 6 to 1.2 seconds, Shopzilla saw revenue increase by 12%. Amazon increased sales by 1% just by improving site speed by 100 milliseconds.

On the flip side, for every extra second it takes for the site to load or a transaction to complete, revenue can significantly decrease. Amazon has calculated that a one second delay in load time can cost the company $1.6 billion in sales each year.

From increasing sales to improving search rankings, website speed plays a critical role in the success of any e-commerce site. There are various components, from server configurations to web asset deliverability, directly impacting website speed. Effectively optimizing website load time can be a daunting task, but a good place to start is to know your current speed of your website.

Here is a list of website speed test tools worth checking out!

This is a guest post by Sharon Bell, Director of Marketing for CDNetworks, a global CDN provider that helps online businesses reach and delight their audiences around the world.


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