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Many people don't get excited at the prospect of discussing loading times. There are undoubtedly more alluring topics in ecommerce, which we spend countless hours discussing, such as mobile, UX, and even drones.

However, loading times should rank extremely high amongst your priorities. This is because website loading time makes a tangible, and significant difference to the overall performance of your website.

 

Customer Expectations

Your customers hold no patience for a website that takes a long time to load. For every extra second, the percentage of people leaving your site increases dramatically.

47% of your customers, will expect a page to load in under two seconds, and a further 40% of your customers will leave your website if it takes more than three seconds to load.

Put simply, a slow load speed will drive people away from your website, after you have invested the time and effort getting them there.

 

Conversion

Because you're effectively letting your customers down, this directly affects your bottom line. This is no different to waiting in line at a shop, or not being served at a restaurant.

52% of online shoppers state that quick page loading affects their site loyalty. A further 79% of shoppers who are dissatisfied with website performance are less likely to buy from your site again, and a 1 second delay in page response can result in a 7% reduction in conversions.

In simple terms, every second counts. The end result is dissatisfaction, and online it's far easier for customers to go elsewhere.

 

Search

The impact of loading speeds on search rankings was actually announced by Google way back in 2010. Slow loading times are penalised, and fast loading times are rewarded. This is a relatively simple concept.

 

OK. But what can be done about it?

 

In affecting such important elements of your overall ecommerce offering, loading speed should be reduced where possible, but how?

 

The following items should always be optimised for faster loading speeds:

 

1. Hosting

Generally reputable/slightly more expensive providers ensure the quality you need. You get what you pay for.

 

2. Images

In particular SAAS platforms encourage people to manage their own content. In this instance, if images aren't being re-sized you could be damaging your page speed by using images that are far bigger than required.

 

3. Embedded Media

With plugins for videos and social media, you are effectively loading someone else's website before your own. Rich media such as videos should be hosted on your own server for maximum speed.

 

4. Theme/Design

If your design is overly complicated and not optimised, this could also be reducing your speed.

 

5. Code

Poorly written or inefficient code is too dense, and will damage your page score.

'If an e-commerce site is making £100,000 per day, a 1 second page delay could potentially be costing your business £2.5 million in lost sales every year.'

There is enough of a case for loading speed to be addressed immediately. Every second literally costs your business. This is best practice as opposed to innovation, and really there is no excuse to be missing out on easy gains for your website.

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