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Online stores: your loading speed can damage sales

by  David Dwyer on  17/04/2017    480 Reads

Gone are the days where businesses operated on a nine to five basis. The internet has made it possible for consumers to access information and make important purchases twenty-four hours a day, 365 days a year. We are now accustomed to being able to get what we want, when we want, from wherever we are, via almost whatever internet connected device we have handy, and can do all this quickly.  

Because of this increasing demand for speed, website loading times are now more important than ever before. People expect sites to load instantaneously; if they don’t, visitors aren’t prepared to wait.  

In fact, a poll of online users showed that 40% of visitors will click away from a site that takes more than three seconds to load. For every additional second your site takes, your bounce rate increases. In 2018, the suggested benchmark for loading speed was set at just 1.3 seconds.  

Page load time is deemed so important that Google uses it as one of its determining factors when deciding where to rank your pages in a search. If your server is slow, Google will send fewer crawlers, meaning pages could get missed. 

Put simply, the slower your site, the lower you rank.  

How does this impact online stores? 

The need for speed can be not only fast & furious but mean that the functionality of your site is equally, if not more important, than the aesthetics. After all, what’s the point of having a beautiful website if nobody sticks around long enough to see it? 

Ten years ago, Amazon did a study and found that for every 100 milliseconds of latency, they lose 1% of sales. If customers aren’t prepared to wait 100 milliseconds for a giant like Amazon, then clearly every second counts for your average eCommerce business.  

It seems that patience is a virtue that most consumers don’t have when it comes to website loading speeds.  

If you want to maximise sales, you can’t afford to be slow 

 

Let’s put some of the figures into context. If your site takes 4 seconds to load, you lose 40% of potential customers before the first page even opens. That means that if you get 100 new clicks on your site every day, you are losing 280 potential customers every week. 

If your conversion rate is 20%, that’s 56 sales per week you’re losing. If your average sale is £100, that’s over £290,000 per year that you’ve potentially lost – for the sake of a second. 

A study by Walmart found that for every second faster they made their site, their conversions increased by 2%. If your average sales are £100,000 per month, that’s an extra £24,000 per year for being just one second faster.  

When you look at the figures, it’s easy to see that (all else being equal) a faster-loading site would provide a return on investment in a matter of weeks. 

 

On the move 

It’s no secret that websites need to be optimised for mobile. More website traffic comes via mobile than desktop, and sites that aren’t optimised don’t perform well in search results or conversions.  

While some users are a little more patient when it comes to mobile loading speeds, almost 50% would abandon a site that took longer than 10 seconds to load.  

If your site is not optimised for mobile, it will impact on loading speeds; in some cases, it won’t load at all. Imagine losing 50% of potential visitors simply because your site isn’t optimised.  

 

User experience 

We all know that first impressions count, and a slow loading site doesn’t make a good first impression. In fact, many people believe that a slow site is unsafe, unreliable or untrustworthy.  

It can be hard to regain a customer’s trust once they’ve had a negative experience, so why take the risk?  

People are coming to your site for a reason – give them what they want quickly; don’t waste their time.  

If your users don’t have a good experience, they’ll end up buying from your competition, and you’ll have a hard time convincing them to give you another chance.  

 

Long-term impacts of slow speed 

Many online stores grow through word of mouth, so it’s important to establish trust and credibility. It’s hard to do that if you lose half your potential customers before they’ve even seen your website.  

Other companies and affiliates will be less likely to link to your site because they won’t have confidence in you. Who wants to send people to a slow-loading site and risk frustrating their audience?  

You’ll also find that your SEO efforts are diluted because your slow site puts search engines off too. This makes it harder for customers to find you in the first place.  

The combination of low conversions, low Google ranking and poor user experience means it will take you longer to grow your business. A slow site doesn’t just cause short-term issues, it can impact on your business long-term too.   

When there’s a Need for Speed, don’t be a tortoise 

Unfortunately, when it comes to loading speeds, slow and steady does not win the race and the tortoise will never beat the hare.  

It’s worth investing in a well-built, responsive site, rather than cutting corners and missing out on the benefits of what a fast & furious page loading time can deliver.  

A fast-loading site means: 

  • Higher number of visitors 

  • Higher conversions 

  • Better SEO 

  • Better user experience 

  • Increased credibility  

  • More backlinks 

  • Better results 

The good news 

The good news is that a fast-loading site is not beyond reach, even for businesses with modest budgets.  

At Inspire, we build responsive websites, that not only look beautiful but are optimised for all devices, give a great user experience and load quickly.  

If you’d like to find out more about how we can help you, contact us for a no-obligation chat.  

Faster sites mean faster results.

e-commerce, Online Stores, User eXperience, User Interface, UX Design, Web Consultancy, Web Design, Website Support
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