Ecommerce | Mar 29, 2018

Why a Fast Ecommerce Website is Important For Your Business

With so many articles about the importance of page load speed over the past few years, I find it shocking that there are still so many slow websites on the internet.

If you own an e-commerce business your website is the face of your company to the world.

Whether you like it or not, this face will be judged against the competition in many aspects like: fresh design, mobile responsiveness, useful content, and speed.

Optimizing just a few of these features is a sure way to stand out from the crowd.

Why should speed matter to you?

For starters, speed affects almost every metric you care about.

Increasing page speed can create a positive cascade effect that ripples throughout your entire organization. From search rankings, to bounce rate, conversions, customer experience—speed can have a dramatic influence on almost every facet of your business.

Put simply, increasing our speed means increasing your revenue.

Moreover, we live in a fast-paced, competitive culture that demands speed. If the market doesn’t get value from you, almost instantaneously, it will dismiss you.

A recent study found that a delay of just one second in your web page time equals a 7% reduction in conversions, 11% fewer page views and 16% reduction in customer satisfaction—just 1 second!

So what does this mean for your business? Well, a similar study found that:

  • 47% of consumers expect a web page to load in 2 seconds or less.
  • 40% of people abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load.
  • A 1 second delay in page response can result in a 7% reduction in conversions.
  • If an e-commerce site is making $100,000 per day, a 1 second page delay could potentially cost you $2.5 million in lost sales every year.

These are some hard numbers to swallow, especially when you consider the average site in 2018 still loads in a leisurely 8.66 seconds!

How Website Speed Affects Shopping Behavior
Kissmetrics - How Website Performance Affects Shopping Behavior

Does website speed really affect search rankings?

While it’s true that that page speed is currently just one of over 200 factors that Google relies on to determine your ranking. It can’t be ignored that they have been putting an increasing importance on it for years now (see here, here).

From our own observation we have noticed customers with fast-loading pages outperforming other similar, slower-loading pages in the search rankings. 

We can’t say that the it's their speed that separates them for certain but, they often even surpass pages that have strong traditional SEO signals like high quality back-links, etc.

Currently (pre July 2018), page speed does not seem to affect mobile search rankings but Google has already decided that this is going to change in the coming months

For more information about how website speed affects search rankings and conversions, check out HubSpot's recent video below:

If this is all news to you, and your haven’t considered optimizing your website’s page load time. For the benefit of your business, there is no better time than now.

What about paid advertising?

One of the way Google determines whether or not your ad gets shown and how much it will cost is through what they call Ad Rank. Ad Rank is determined on a handful of factors but one of those is quality of your landing page experience in which speed is heavily emphasized.  

Google has made it pretty clear: “The experience you offer affects your Ad Rank and therefore your CPC and position in the ad auction. Your ads may show less often (or not at all) if they point to websites that offer a poor user experience.”

So, yes, speed affects paid advertising as well.

If not for you, do it for them

One of the more common objections to SEO we hear is something along the lines of “I have a steady stream of (fill-in-the-blank) leads, so I don’t think the extra cost is worth it”.

This may be true, often established companies have a great referral base or they have an exclusive partnership and don’t need to be as concerned with attracting outside visitors.

If this describes your business in anyway, please consider optimizing your site. Not for your benefit but for the benefit of your customers. 

You know, the people that you have relationships with. The lifeblood of your business.

Consider these statistics:

  • When faced with a negative mobile shopping experience, 43% of consumers will go to a competitor’s site next. (source)
  • Users spend 70% more time, and have 60% more page views, on websites that load quickly. (source)
  • As page time goes from 1s-5s the probability of bounce (leaving the site) increases by 90%. (source)
  • People will visit a website less if it is slower than a competitors by more than 250 milliseconds! (source)
  • For every 100 millisecond decrease in load time, conversions (ie. purchases) increase 1.1%. To the average business this represents an annual increase of nearly $370,000! (source)

User experience can not be overlooked and these statistics make it clear that most of our customers make their decisions based on how fast (or slow) a website loads.

Who can blame them? We all lead busy lives and putting up with a website that takes too much time isn’t worth coming back to for most people.

Its been said that it is 6 times more expensive to convince a new customer to buy from you than to retain an existing customer. From a business standpoint, it pays to think of optimizing website speed as a customer retention strategy.

It’s also worth noting here that a satisfied customer is 73% more likely to recommend your brand to others.

If you don't feel the ROI in website speed is worth it to you. Do it for your customers!

Conclusion

It goes without saying that to be competitive in 2018 and beyond you will need to put extra focus on the speed of your website.

If this article has peaked your curiosity, start with a site audit and see where you stand. 

Some resources we recommend to audit your site's speed are:

HubSpot Website Grader
HubSpot Website Grader AltiSuite Test - 0.8 sec Load Time!

HubSpot's Website Grader

Website Grader is an award-winning free tool that grades your site against key metrics like speed, performance, mobile readiness, and security. It is a great tool to take a snapshot of your businesses website and determine whether you "make the grade".




WebPageTest
AltiSuite WebPageTest - 0.837s load time!

WebPageTest

Supported by Google as part of their efforts to make the web faster. WebPageTest is a free website speed test from locations around the globe using real browsers at consumer connection speeds. 




Once you have a handle on your sites performance it's time to optimize for speed.

Any race-car driver will tell you that speed can be accomplished in a variety of ways but comes down to a couple very basic principles:

  1. Enhance what you truly use
  2. Get rid of what you don’t

Just like a race-car driver, you should take the time to determine what you need to keep and what you can remove or reduce (images, code, redirects, etc). From their you can begin to optimize.

You may be able to do some of the optimizations yourself but, we have found if your platform isn't optimal it may be holding you back.

Drag Scooter
Optimizations may not always be enough

Ultimately, most effective way to increase speed is to ensure that you are running your site with the right software on the right platform. 

This is why we designed AltiSuite the way we did.

AltiSuite is a cloud-based software as a service (SaaS) platform designed for ecommerce businesses to manage the 8 essential components of their company.

When we embarked on building the AltiSuite platform a number of years ago, we wanted to develop an all-in-one platform that didn't require the addition of "bloated" software to operate effectively. At the same time, we could see that cell phone screens would one day rule the battle for our attention and decided to develop our platform “mobile-first”. 

This meant that we needed to engineer the whole stack from the server to the browser for a seamless mobile experience, and optimize, optimize, optimize!

When we finished, the serendipity of the all this optimization was that our page load speeds were lightning fast.  

As we began to migrate websites from other popular platforms we noticed a significant drop in page load time. Over time, our average site load time has been around 1.2 seconds. For context, this means our full load time is faster than the average website's time to first byte!

All that to say this. If operating faster than 95% of the web is appealing to you, give us a call. We’d be glad to help make your business stand out from the crowd.

Interested in learning more about AltiSuite? Sign up below!