The Top Mistake Retailers Make when it Comes to eCommerce Site Speed
By Stephen Chinn, Director of Applications Hosting Services
Site speed in eCommerce is widely accepted as one of the most important factors in driving revenue. That’s because speed has a major impact on conversion rates and site traffic. Take for instance that, according to a case study from Radware, 51% of online shoppers in the US claimed if a site is too slow, then they will not complete a purchase; and, during peak traffic times, 75% of consumers are willing to visit competitor sites instead of dealing with a slow loading page.
The importance of site speed is huge for eCommerce retailers. Faster page speeds have two major benefits: higher conversion rates and increase in site traffic. While site speed has some small technical influence with respect to SEO efforts, providing a satisfying user experience results in people returning to your site more frequently, and makes it more likely for happy customers to refer family and friends to your site.
Unfortunately, many eCommerce merchants don’t fully understand how to measure site speed. They place too much emphasis on page load while not paying enough attention to what makes for a satisfying user experience. Retailers should pay more attention to time-to-interact, the key metric for user experience.
Time-to-interact is the point at which a customer can take action on a page. It’s not as important to have the whole page load as it is to have parts of the page ready for your customers to interact with–this makes them happier. Providing a satisfying user experience increases the chance of making a sale and gives customers a reason to return often to shop on your site.
Three tactics you should employ to optimize site speed while focusing on time-to-interact are:
- Caching, a way to store data for future requests, so pages can be served faster.
- Compression of images whereby making them smaller increases the speed by which they’re downloaded.
- Execution, which controls the order in which tasks are performed, placing an emphasis on those which are key to the shopping process and reducing unnecessary wait time.
Getting time-to-interact right will enable you to optimize your site to the benefit of your users. To learn more about measuring eCommerce site speed, check out our site speed white paper, or contact us.
Stephen Chinn is the Director of Applications Hosting Services at LYONSCG. Since joining the company in October 2010, Stephen has created a data center, built a hosting service (offering both cloud and dedicated physical servers), created a US-based Operations & Support Center with 24/7 emergency response capacity, and has hired and mentored new staff. Stephen graduated from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale with a BS in Speech Communications.