Is Your Page Load Time Helping or Hurting Your Ecom Conversions?
Irene Wanja | Mar 14, 2023Reading Time: 4 minutes
As an ecommerce business owner, there’s nothing more disheartening than a slow page load time—especially when it causes lower conversions and unhappy customers. Just as the retail world has long since recognized the importance of providing a pleasant customer experience in-store, so too must online stores prioritize their digital storefront if they want to remain competitive.
In today’s fast-paced world, where everything is expected to happen at the speed of light, online shoppers have little patience for slow loading pages. Laggy load times not only impact customer experience but can also lead to a significant drop in conversions. So, let’s talk about why load time matters so much, and walk through some practical tips for improving load times to boost conversions.
Why load time matters
Page load time has a significant impact on ecommerce stores. According to research conducted by Unbounce, about 70% of users confirmed that a site’s speed impacts their decision to buy. And to give that statistic just a little more color:
- Every one-second delay in load time can lead to a 7% reduction in conversions.
- If a page takes more than three seconds to load, the conversion rate can drop by up to 50%.
This means that for a store generating $100,000 in revenue per day, a one-second delay in page load time can result in a loss of $2.5 million in annual revenue!
Survey conducted by Google
As if that weren’t bad enough, slow load times also impact customer satisfaction. In a survey conducted by Keysight, 73% of online shopper respondents said they would look for an alternative site to purchase if they experienced slow page load times. This negative experience can result in customers venting their frustrations on social media or review platforms, further damaging a business’s reputation.
How page load time affects customers
A quick-functioning website is an essential ingredient of a thriving ecom business, and ultimately affects the perception of a site’s user experience and performance. No matter how awesome a product or service, people may get frustrated and leave if they have to wait around to interact with your store.
Not surprisingly, load time also directly affects conversion rates. After all, if someone lacks the time or patience to make it to the checkout page, they definitely won’t be completing their purchase. Which means, despite spending your hard-earned money on traffic acquisition costs, a slow-loading site will likely put a huge dent in your ROI.
A laggy site can even cause people to leave negative reviews about their experience with your store, which can damage your reputation and revenue potential. Not only that, but it also reduces customer loyalty and retention rate … both major factors in maintaining sales figures over time.
Factors that affect load time
While several factors impact load times, one of the most significant is webpage size—the bigger they are, the longer they take to load. This factor is influenced by various elements, such as images, videos, and scripts. While these elements can enhance the customer experience, they can also slow down your site. Other things that can impact load times include server response time, browser caching, and content delivery network (CDN) performance.
Improve your site’s load time
If you’re an ecommerce business owner looking to maximize conversions, here are some practical tips for improving your store’s load times:
- Optimize images: Images are often the largest element on a webpage and can significantly impact load times. Optimize your images by compressing them to reduce their size without sacrificing quality.
- Reduce heavy or complex elements: Videos, complex animations, and other heavy elements can significantly impact load times, so scale back the number of heavy or complex elements on each page.
- Test multiple browsers: Different browsers can impact load times differently. Test your website on different browsers to identify any issues that may be impacting your site speed.
- Cache content: Caching a store’s frequently accessed content on the user’s device allows it to load faster.
- Optimize server response time: The time it takes for the server to respond to a user’s request can impact load times. Optimize server response time by choosing a reliable web host and minimizing the number of requests the server has to handle.
- Leverage browser prefetching: Browser prefetching can improve your store’s speed by predicting what content the user is likely to access next and pre-loading it in the background.
- Utilize content delivery networks: CDNs distribute website content across multiple servers worldwide, reducing the distance between the user and the website’s server, resulting in faster load times.
Slow page load times can significantly impact ecommerce conversions and customer satisfaction. But the good news is, we’ve given you a ton of expert tips in this article to help you improve your ecommerce store’s load times and boost conversions. In today’s fast-paced marketplaces, site speed simply cannot be overlooked, and as an ecom business owner, you must be just as attentive to their website performance as you are to other areas of your business. So what are you waiting for? Get implementing!
“Think Fast: The Page Speed Report Stats & Trends for Marketers.” Unbounce, 2022.
Painter, Alex. “Surviving Black Friday: Why Avoiding Outages Is No Longer Enough.” Eggplant Blog, 2018.
About the author
Irene, a skilled Revenue Optimization Specialist for Build Grow Scale, combines an unparalleled focus on user research and a deep understanding of the ecommerce customer journey to orchestrate optimal shopping experiences. With an uncanny knack for detecting and addressing customer pain points through meticulous user testing, she utilizes tools such as moderated user tests, heatmaps, scrollmaps, and clickmaps to fast-track improvements in user experience and usability. Her keen eye for detail aids in swiftly spotting potential issues and implementing solutions, all while working closely with store owners and applying her intricate comprehension of user interactions. Passionate about software and technology, Irene immerses herself in enhancing her clients' business clarity, efficiency, and user satisfaction. Even though the value of user experience doesn't conform to a conventional numerical scale, the tangible outcomes of her work—improved user experience, amplified retention rates, and reduced customer support issues—are testaments to her prowess. Beyond her revenue optimization skills, Irene is a skilled writer and copywriter. She weaves her profound insights into engaging prose, crafting content that not only resonates with diverse audiences but also demystifies the complexities of user experience, consequently benefitting businesses worldwide.