What is Website Speed and Why Does it Matter?
Website speed, also known as website performance, measures how fast a browser loads your ecommerce site’s content. You may not realize it, but speed is the first thing consumers notice about your ecommerce business. Think of it as the first impression you make on your audience.
Below we’ll explore how your Shopify brand’s website speed affects your business in terms of:
- Google Search Ranking
According to a study conducted by Microsoft Corp., we generally lose concentration after only 8 seconds. Our ability to focus has decreased by a third from the 12 seconds it was in at the turn of the millennium – around the time we entered the mobile age. What this shows is that our brains are adapting to the speed at which information is being delivered to us. If your ecommerce website isn’t evolving to account for this weaker attention span, you’re guaranteed to fall behind in key areas. After all, as the saying goes – you snooze, you lose.
How Website Speed Affects Your Conversion Rate
Conversion rate for an e-commerce brand can be defined as the percentage of consumers that complete specific, or desired, actions on your site.
In the real world, it generally takes 7 seconds to make a first impression. Online, you have less than a third of that! In fact, 47% of consumers expect your ecommerce website to load in 2 seconds and as much as 53% of people will abandon your site entirely, or bounce, if it takes more than 3 seconds to load. Talk about a need for speed!
What is a Bounce Rate?
Bounce rate is a measurement that determines what percentage of users visit a website and leave without viewing any other page on that site. It’s calculated by dividing the number of one page visits by the total visits to your site.
When website speed is slow, consumers are less likely to stick around and as a result, your ecommerce website’s performance has a direct, and significant, effect on your conversion rates. It has been proven, time and again, that the quicker a website’s speed, the better conversion rates will be – resulting in users being more likely to perform the targeted actions and not bounce to the competition.
"1 second of load lag time would cost Amazon $1.6 billion in sales per year." - Amazon
Speed equals revenue. The reality is that every second makes a world of a difference when it comes to website speed. In fact, a delay of just 1 second in a page’s response not only lowers your traffic, but it can result in a 7% decrease in sales.
The good news? Improving ecommerce website speed by just 0.1 seconds can improve conversion rates by 8.4%!
Keeping in mind how speed affects conversion rates and therefore correcting any shortcomings will not only increase your overall earnings, but will also allow you to avoid losing out on any missed opportunities.
What Effect Does Site Speed Have on Brand Loyalty
Conversion rates and consumer loyalty essentially go hand-in-hand and it should come as no surprise that customer loyalty is one of the key elements for your ecommerce business’ success. What better way to build loyalty than to provide visitors to your site with a good experience? Consumers who return to your site ultimately increase profits and consequently promote the overall growth of your business.
In one study, it was discovered that almost 70% of online consumers agree that a website’s speed impacts their decision to buy from an online store. Remember that first impression we were talking about? Well, if you only have 2 seconds to make an impression on someone who may become a lifetime customer, you had better make good use out of that time!
Enhancing your consumers’ experience by increasing your website speed is a sure-fire way to build consumer loyalty. In one study, 52% of online shoppers claimed that quick page loads are important for their loyalty to a site. On the contrary, it was found that 79% of shoppers are less likely to buy from your ecommerce site again if they experience slow website speed. Seems like a no-brainer, doesn’t it?
Website Speed is Now a Factor in Your Site’s Google Search Ranking
Think you can trade website speed for world class content? Think again. Because page speed is essential to user experience, Google uses website speed in its SEO rankings algorithm. No matter how extraordinary your content is, you won’t get to the top of the search results if your speed is lacking. In a statement, Google said:
Users want to find answers to their questions quickly and data shows that people really care about how quickly their pages load. The Search team announced speed would be a ranking signal for desktop searches in 2010 and as of today, page speed will be a ranking factor for mobile searches too.
In order to rank well in Google search results, ensuring that your website can be found easily by your target audience, the speed of your Shopify website can’t be overlooked. In fact, it’s crucial – so, we’ve compiled some helpful tips that will have the most impact on increasing your ecommerce website speed:
- Find out your current ecommerce website speed – Where do you stand right now?
- Reduce redirects – The more redirecting your website is doing, the longer the consumer is waiting to land on the desired page
- Optimize the images on your website – Large images can delay loading speed. Compress and optimize those images by reducing the sizes and using the appropriate file format.
The bottom line – when it comes to your ecommerce’s website speed, time is of the essence.
If you neglect the speed of your website, it’s sure to have a negative impact on your conversions, consumer loyalty, and Google search rankings – all key components essential for the success of your Shopify store. Speed is vital in attracting consumers to your store and ultimately in those customers continuing to do business with your brand.
The truth is, regardless of how much time and effort you’ve poured into creating a brand you’re proud of, from the colour scheme, logos and content, users will choose your ecommerce site – or not - based on the amount of time it takes for your website to load. Website speed plays such a critical role in determining the success of your ecommerce brand, and adQuadrant has helped many ambitious brands optimize their online presence so reach out to them for any help your brand might need.
* This is a guest post from the team at adQuadrant.
- What to pledge
- How to improve
- Which tools will set you up for success
I think the most important thing brands can do in 2023 is to better manage their customer data—both ethically and effectively. There’s an opportunity for brands to know their customers better than ever before—a clear benefit for both the customer and the brand. When you manage your data correctly, you’ll create stronger and more personalized ads, creative, site experiences, and so much more.
This is a classic: Let the data guide you. Go where the buyers for your products are and communicate with them on a personal level (i.e. by persona and funnel position) and nurture those relationships (past, present, and future customers). It’s possible—all through data.
We recommend that Shopify brands analyze and update their websites using data-driven decisions. Using analytics tools such as heatmaps and scrollmaps can help brands better understand how customers are interacting with their store.
Store owners tend to make assumptions about the way customers interact with their website. Most never go back and analyze their design choices to find pain points or areas of opportunity. By using heatmaps and scrollmaps, they can see where real customers are clicking and concentrating their attention. Leveraging this data, brands can start to iterate on design and make their online store experience streamlined and intuitive.
Hotjar provides a simple way to implement heatmaps, scrollmaps, and recorded user sessions on your site, helping you acquire incredibly informative user data. Additionally, it gives you the ability to create on-site surveys, which allows you to obtain direct and often critical feedback from users about their experience.
Test various attribution models and analyze the impact on your business. At Fifty Six, we are always here to help our clients identify and optimize their approach—a critical step in any successful marketing strategy.
If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times–Customer Lifetime Value. And even more importantly, Future Lifetime Value (FLTV). With the ever-growing importance of first-party data, it is crucial that brands take a good look at their CRM and FLTV metrics.
Stop allocating budgets to low-hanging fruit that doesn’t move the needle on conversion. Think about what’s really going to improve your CX and the return of undertaking different initiatives—not just on what’s top on your list of bugbears on the site!
One of the best ways to understand your customer behavior is by using HotJar. Their heat-mapping and screen recording tools shine a light on where customers are navigating to and from on your site, where they're rage clicking and experiencing frustration, and where conversion is dropping off within real life customer journeys and flows!
Understanding your customers’ pain points via data and analytics , will allow you to work with your CRO/CX Agency to solve customer frustrations and improve conversion.
Rewind backs up all product, customer, and order data for Shopify sites—essential since Shopify itself doesn’t provide this solution. It's saved so many of our clients time and money from administrative accidents.
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33% of customer service inquiries are pre-sale questions. What does this mean? If you’re not investing in customer service, you’re missing out on revenue-generating opportunities.
The benefits of elevating your customer experience:
- 10% to 25% increase in AOV for customers who engage with live chat pre-purchase
- 21x higher conversion rate for customers who reach out via Live Chat or SMS compared to other site visitors
- 87% of customers who have a great customer experience will make another purchase
- 72% of customers share positive experiences with 6 or more individuals
Gorgias is our favorite Helpdesk platform. They can reduce costs by 35%, primarily by decreasing the average ticket handle time. Their machine learning algorithms are trained on millions of ecommerce-related interactions across Gorgias’ customer base and provide accurate, automated replies for the most common ecommerce inquiries. This helps our agents resolve tickets faster, which provides the customer a seamless experience.
Trust your agency! Agencies do the same things across multiple brands and niches, so we see the trends and have the practice and experience!
Don't be afraid of data and insights. If customers aren't clicking on your emails, try a new CTA. If your ads are driving good metrics at a small spend, start scaling. If your customers are complaining about a product, look into QA! If the data tells you something isn't working, let it go and try something else!
I'm supposed to say Tydo, right? 😉
Double down on differentiation. There will be a lot of headwinds this year and standing out from the crowd will set you apart.
A picture is worth 1,000 words. A video? Probably millions. In ecommerce that value translates into engagement, acquisition, and retention—everything you need to impact your bottom line.
At soona, we've seen the we've seen the impact of creative and the continuous split testing of it yield results. Our resolution is to challenge ourselves and double down on innovation and creative optionality so that each brand we work with can distinguish themselves in a crowded sea of D2C ecomm. We'd love to see our brands share this resolution and keep pushing the creative limits.
Klaviyo. We're using it to power our email and newsletter at soona too!
Optimize your returns strategy! This can lead to valuable customer insights, enhanced user experiences, and increased revenue and customer loyalty.
Brands need to dive deeper into understanding their customers to set themselves up for success. Conduct research to gain insights into customer needs, preferences, and behaviors. By doing so, you can develop targeted strategies that will enhance customer experience and boost overall retention.
Right now I would say Gorgias. Having a good customer service tool is crucial to building strong customer relationships.
Start paying heavy attention to data, specifically around retention. We see a lot of effort put towards acquisition with the assumption that once someone buys, they are your customer forever. Instead, get to know your customer, understand their needs, and analyze their behaviors once they are on-site and judge their sentiment after they have visited. Work with a retention focused and data-driven agency to implement tools that contribute to repeat business and customer delight. It will pay dividends.
When surveyed, about 80% of ecommerce merchants think that they are delivering a great experience to their customers. However, when the same customers are surveyed, only 8% of those customers think that they are getting a great experience from the merchant. Now, more than ever, retaining loyal customers is an essential part of any online business and you should spend time with your customers to judge their experience with your website and products and offer improvements based on that feedback.
Tydo's report cards are an essential tool, along with Klaviyo for email and SMS, Recharge for subscriptions and memberships, Okendo for reviews and surveys, Rebuy for AI driven collections and upsells, Loop for self service returns... each tool is great on their own, but their strength as the ultimate tool comes from when they are used together!
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Report Cards is a customized glimpse into your business, delivered to your inbox for free.
Report Cards consolidates all your key metrics across platforms for an at-a-glance pulse of your business.
Discover metrics for every team member so they can stay updated with the right data on a daily, weekly and monthly basis.
It's free because we believe everyone should have access to the basics.
Portfolio is a hub for analytics across multiple Shopify stores. The perfect tool for agencies.
See an aggregate view of all your data for all your stores in one place.
Make real time assessments on marketing initiatives across every storefront you manage.
Analyze the performance of one store versus another in seconds.