Customers browse the internet at such speed today, that delays of even a second can put them off a site. People are more accustomed to receiving things instantly and this desire for speed is only increasing. This impatience means that a slow site will significantly limit your online potential.

As a digital agency, we have created many web developments for Melbourne businesses, from apps, templated sites all the way through to custom e-commerce stores. With every project, one of our key points of focus is site speed and we are often asked why it is so important.

In our experience, there are two main reasons why site speed is crucial to the success of any online store. The first is that it directly affects your conversion rates. Your customer’s first impression will often come from a website and a slow site can result in an instant judgement on your entire brand.

The second factor is that Google takes loading speed into consideration when ranking sites. They will prefer online stores that deliver a great experience to their visitors. Which includes site speed and loading ability. While your site’s speed is not the only aspect of your online presence, it can still have a significant impact on your traffic numbers.

So how fast is fast enough?

While the question might seem like a simple mathematical equation, the true answer is it depends. The problem with giving an exact figure it that these are increasingly subjective. It depends on not only the customer but also the industry and even what device the site is loading on.

Old research from 2010 found that while customers wanted sites that loaded in a second, they would be prepared to wait up to 10 seconds for something to load. However, these figures do not truly reflect the modern audience with mobile devices and short attention spans. It stands to reason that sites looking to stay at the forefront of the industry need to focus on much faster page loads. Consider these statistics which were more recently released.

  • Modern internet browsers expect websites to be fully loaded within a two-second window.
  • If a site takes longer than three seconds to load, 40% of the visitors will abandon the page.
  • The majority of shoppers who find a site too slow to load will never come back to the brand and the company has effectively lost these potential customers.
  • Mobile users expect the same or faster loading speeds for their portable devices and are quicker to bounce due to site speed or experience.
  • In contrast, loyal customers report they stay because of how quick and easy a site is to use.
  • Conversions actually increase for every second of improvement and in the past Amazon experience a rapid boost to revenue due to implementing a 100-millisecond speed increase.

All these figures simply represent is an increasing need for businesses to focus on their site speed. Businesses like to have the latest bells and whistles, hoping it will create a competitive difference. However, according to customers, they prefer a quicker site over all the latest technology. It might just become your competitive difference!

Do you know how fast your site is?

The first step is to determine how fast your site actually is. There are a number of tools on the web which can help with that and can even break down the different elements which slow down the site. Google has a great tool called PageSpeed Insights, as Google Partners we recommend this speed test as it also demonstrates the differences between the mobile and desktop versions.

This can give you a starting place to determine if your business’ website can improve in any areas. These will also give you the information to move forward and build your online business reputation.

Tips to Increase eCommerce Speed

Once you have discovered your site speed, there are a few tactics that you can implement to increase your loading speed.

  1. Optimise your images, this is one of the most common causes of slow e-commerce sites, especially ones with lots of images. Investigate some of the online tools available or even hire a designer to optimise your image and video assets for you.
  2. Your hosting company and servers play a major part in the speed of your online store. Not only does your hosting determine whether your site can handle the traffic. It also increases the speed with tactics like GZIP compression to reduce the page file sizes.
  3. Leverage caching. While caching can be a negative element if your site is storing too many details from too many software, it also works for your e-commerce site. When users click on your store a properly build caching system will store certain elements in browser caches. This means when the user next visits your store or even clicks through to the next page, assets like logos, CSS and Javascript do not need to reload. Ultimately speeding up the loading speed of each subsequent page.

For each of these tips, it can seem like a simple process until a business starts to implement the changes. As a digital agency, our team is made up a range of skilled specialists to deliver expert results. If you would like some assistance on implementing these tips, or even know what needs to change but not how to start, we can help.

Ultimately your e-commerce’s success depends on how enjoyable and intuitive your users find your site. They expect lightning fast results and are not afraid of leaving if they do not get it. Visitors find it easier to simply move on to a competitor rather than waiting for your e-commerce site to meet their needs.

On the positive side, a fast and easy to load site can increase your loyal customers. Making online shopping an enjoyable experience, whenever and wherever your visitors are looking from. In the end, you’ll be left with happier customers, better conversions and competitive online reputation.

So what are you waiting for? Contact us today to discover how you can dramatically increase your online presence.