Whether we are talking about brick and mortar stores or E-commerce websites, swift service is a key component of a quality shopping experience for the customers. The longer it takes for a potential customer to successfully complete a purchase, the more time he or she has to change their mind about going through with it. Even if your store offers other benefits to offset longer waiting times, the reality is that most people simply are not willing to trade more time spent in line for a better service. Convenience is king in shopping, and nothing inconveniences people more than delaying their daily schedules because they had to spend extra time waiting.
In the world of E-commerce, the process of shopping has been streamlined to the point where technically speaking, a few clicks is all it takes for a site visitor to be converted into a customer. Page load time is de facto the only source of delay in the online shopping process, provided the customer knows exactly what they want. The downside to this for is that the tolerance threshold for waiting is much shorter. Recent studies have shown that the average customer is willing to wait only about 3 seconds for a page to load. Waiting times above this threshold can have a drastic effect on the conversion rate of a website, which is why E-commerce companies should take special care in addressing the issue of page load speed. In the rest of this article, we will look into the impact of load times in greater detail, as well as offer a number of suggestions on how to they can be reduced.
Speed as a Conversion Factor: Impact on UX
Page load speed is a core component of the user experience, and as such, it directly affects conversion rates. With increased loading times, visitors are unable to perform the necessary CTAs for conversion. This inability causes a decrease in interest for performing the CTAs as such, leading to abandonment. The effects of conversion loss due to an unsatisfactory user experience caused by page load times can be drastic. Here are some statistics to highlight this, courtesy of CDNetworks:
- A site that loads in three seconds experiences 22% fewer conversions than a site that loads in one second
- A one second delay in mobile page load time equals a 7% loss in conversion
- 21% of online shoppers abandoned shopping carts because the process was taking too long
- 66% of mobile shoppers abandoned an E-commerce shopping cart because it was either loading too slowly or it never came up at all
These numbers demonstrate that there is a direct link between page speed and conversion rate. An extra second of loading time can make all the difference in the fast-paced world of E-commerce.
Speed as a Conversion Factor: Impact on SEO
Another way in which load times affect conversion rate is through their search engine ranking. When determining the search rank of a website, Google‘s algorithms take into account how fast it responds to web requests. Longer response times mean lower rankings, and thus lower exposure through organic search results. This means fewer customers overall for an E-commerce website, and consequently fewer conversions.
Optimizing Speed Through Software
Optimizing Speed Through Hardware
Apart from software bottlenecks, server-side hardware can have a significant impact on page-load speeds as well. A shared hosting plan means that server resources are being split between multiple websites, which can result in your requests being processed slower depending on the workload. Switching to a hosting package with a dedicated server ensures that there are no server-side slowdowns even during peak hours.
Another way of making sure your website is operating at maximum efficiency at all times is by using the services of a content distribution network (CDN). These networks consist of a large number of geographically distributed servers. Depending on the location of the user, a different server will process their request, thus reducing latency related issues.