Ecommerce is increasingly becoming the preferred method of shopping around the world. As of 2019, global ecommerce sales stood at $3.5 trillion, and that number is expected rise to $4.9 trillion by 2021.
According to statistics, 31% of online shoppers shop online once every month, another 24% do so every two weeks, while about 20% shop once every week. These stats show how much internet users are utilizing the convenience provided by ecommerce in the purchase of goods and services. One of the factors driving the mass adoption of ecommerce is the increased use of smartphones.
A recent survey reveals that shopping with mobile phones has the highest percentage (33%) when compared to shopping on laptops (31%) and desktop computers (27%). Research also shows that the preference for shopping on smartphones experienced a massive increase from 14% in 2016 to 29% in 2018. Although ecommerce has come a long way in the marketplace, common mistakes in the ecommerce space can easily lead to a reduction in sales and conversion rates.
One such issue that is often overlooked is the website speed.
Why Is Your Ecommerce Website Speed Important?
The modern-day customer has a variety of needs, with excellent user experience being at the top of that list. An ecommerce website with reduced website speed is bound to lose out on a lot of sales. In fact, 79% of online shoppers say they won't go back to a website if they had trouble with the load speed.
Shoppers Are Impatient
Yes, you read that right. Today's shoppers are impatient; they want speed. According to statistics, 40% of ecommerce shoppers will abandon your website or store if it takes longer than three seconds to load.
The emergence of mobile commerce has made it possible for users to shop on the go, without any alteration in their schedule. For that reason, most mobile shoppers are always engaged in other chores while trying to make a purchase online, which means there is a high possibility of divided attention.
The slow loading speed of your website will only add to their frustration, causing them to seek other alternatives on the web. Hence, a fast website loading speed is the best first impression you can give to your site visitors, and it can go a long way to determine your conversion rate.
A Slow Website Affects Your SEO Strategy
Faster website speed can lead to customers spending more time on your website, thereby causing search engines to see your site as valuable. A reduced loading speed will only chase customers away, thus leading to poor search engine ranking.
A Slow Website Negatively Impacts the User Experience
Having the best UX design for your website and simplifying customer experience for your visitors will all go to waste if your web pages take too much time to load. Besides, good user experience is never complete without fast website load speed. Customers won't be able to enjoy your awesome design and navigation system if each page takes forever to load.
How to Optimize Ecommerce Website Load Speed
Minimize HTTP Requests
When users visit your website, they click through various web pages. You will be surprised to know that most of the time spent loading each webpage is consumed by downloads of several components that make up the webpage, such as scripts, images, stylesheet, etc.
When users click through a webpage, their browser automatically sends an HTTP request to your website. This HTTP request comprises components that make up each webpage. So, the more components that make up a webpage, the more HTTP request you will get, and the longer time it will take to load that page.
That said, here are some tips to help you minimize HTTP requests on your website:
- Install a caching plugin to help with removing junk files
- Minimize images and other elements on your webpages
Pages will tend to load faster when the file sizes on your website are small, and that is why you need to compress large file sizes as much as you can. So far, one of the most efficient methods of compressing website file sizes is with Gzip.
Gzip is a software application that helps you locate similar codes in your text files. These same codes are then temporarily replaced by files with smaller sizes. The fact that it works well with similar codes makes it perfect for compressing CSS and HTML since they are both files with repeated code and whitespace.
Enable HTTP Keep-Alive
When visitors request for certain files on your website, they need permission from your website before they can download that file. The same process is repeated over and over again, for each click made by your site visitors, and this can significantly affect the loading speed.
However, enabling the HTTP keep-alive can help you create just one connection for multiple file requests on your website. HTTP keep-alive instructs the browsers of your site visitors that they can download numerous file sizes without having to seek permission every single time.
This can significantly reduce the burden on your website server, thus increasing website speed.
Reduce Image Size
Images used in building websites are often enormous and of high quality. However, you can do a little tweaking to get the best out of every image uploaded. The trick is to resize your images until they get the acceptable size. For example, a 570px picture should load faster than a 2000px image. Hence, reducing the size of site images can significantly reduce website loading time.
With the rapid growth of ecommerce comes drastic changes in customer behavior. These days, online shoppers want to have access to information on the go. They are busy and sometimes don't have enough time to visit physical stores for shopping.
As an ecommerce shop owner, one of the very first and crucial steps you can take is to optimize your website for loading speed. To achieve this, you can minimize HTTP requests, reduce the image size, and avoid unnecessary plugins.
About the Author
Madan Pariyar is a blogger at WebPrecious and a digital marketing strategist helping clients to resolve their website woes. When not busy with all these things, you may find Madan occasionally watching movies, traveling and spending time with family.