*2014 was a pivotal year for ecommerce merchants, with the rise of mobile commerce, social commerce, and continued growth across industries and audiences. To celebrate the end of an exciting year of ecommerce, we’re looking back at best blog posts of 2014 in our Dynamicweb Year in Review.
Return to the Winter Olympics: e-Commerce Site Speed
With current events involving a Ukrainian revolution and a Russian incursion into Crimea, the Sochi Winter Olympics already seem so far away. If we return to this past Winter Olympics, however, there is much to celebrate: feelings of global unity, humorous tweets from journalists, and the US taking home 28 total medals – 9 of them gold – in fair, fun competition.
Like the Winter Olympics, competition (not conflict), plays a huge role in e-commerce. The rules of the race are as follows: the faster your e-commerce site loads, the better off you are.
Considering the sheer amount of websites, there’s even more competition on the web than on the slopes, and every second counts. According to e-commerce research from the Aberdeen Group, a single-second delay results in 11% fewer page views and a 16% decrease in customer satisfaction.
Visitors are impatient and freely abandon sites while they’re still loading. Take one second too long and lose 1/10th of your potential e-commerce customers. And if your site lags behind, your competitors are more than happy to race ahead of you to scoop up these prospects. Customers visit slower websites less often than their competitors, even if the difference is a mere 1/4th of a second. That’s less time than it took you to read this sentence!
Once your guest arrives safely on your homepage or landing page, it’s still not time to celebrate. You haven’t crossed the finish line yet. If your pages continue to load slowly, the Aberdeen research shows that you risk a 7% loss in conversions. These conversions could be anything, whether you want your visitors to download a whitepaper, fill out a lead form, or complete a purchase. All are affected by a slow website.
This e-commerce race is also being contested at more than your desk. Across tablets and other mobile devices, competitors are all going for the gold in site speed. In fact, a survey of mobile users from Econsultancy shows that 74% of respondents abandon mobile sites after five seconds of loading. 46% say they would not return to a slow mobile site. To the victor go the customers.
To speed up your site for your customers, first take a look at your images. Not the images themselves, but how large they are. Large image files load more slowly than smaller ones. You also want to optimize any HTML code and, importantly, consider the overall design of your page.
Unfortunately, gorgeous design and tons of advanced functionality are often at odds with fast loading. After all, a robust e-commerce page with lots of gorgeous high-quality images takes longer to load than a page with a few compressed images or even a barebones text-only website.
How do you strike the perfect balance between great design and site speed? This is where Dynamicweb offers a great solution with A/B testing. A/B testing allows you to compare the effectiveness of two sites against one another, no matter how minute the differences.
Let’s say you have a landing page with larger images that loads, on average, a second slower than a nearly-identical one with smaller images. Which is more effective to engage customers? The pretty pictures or the faster loading? If you want to know which one converts more, A/B testing will tell you. And of course, A/B testing also gives you the ability to test much larger differences in design, layout, and content.
So when considering the design and layout of your e-commerce site, remember that site speed matters. E-commerce is more like the Winter Olympics than The Tortoise and the Hare. Learn more about how Dynamicweb can get you set up with a speedy website and online marketing tools like A/B testing by racing on over to our own site.