Wondering why your sales were down during the holiday season online rush? May be that is because the website was slow. And if you are Amazon, you will lose $1.6 billion a year if your page takes an extra second to load.
A study by Borland identified an overwhelming correlation between sales-generated traffic rises and increases in website response times – a nightmare situation for any retailer hoping to capitalize on the seasonal online rush of bargain-hunting consumers. Research has shown that even minor delays to website response times can have a sizable impact on customer satisfaction, page views, conversion rates and site abandonment. A one second delay in website response time equals11% fewer page views,16% decrease in customer satisfaction and a 7% loss in conversions.
The study thus concludes that a one second increase in Amazon’s page load would annually cost $1.6 billion in sales, and 38% of UK online shoppers abandon websites or apps that take more than 10 seconds to load.
The average online shopper expects web pages to load in 2 seconds or less, after 3 seconds, up to 40% will abandon the site. Seventy four per cent of users will abandon a mobile site after waiting only five seconds for it to load.Once visitors leave, it’s very difficult to get them back. 88% of online consumers are less likely to return to a site after a bad experience.
Play.com, the UK arm of the Rakuten Group, saw performance drop by 500% as its site slowed from a load time of 2 seconds to 12 when site traffic peaked on the 4th January. Other online retailers that also suffered significant increases in load times during the first few days of the January sales included John Lewis, Amazon.co.uk, Asos.com and Tesco.com. Increases ranged between 3 and 4.5 seconds for their landing page to load.
“There is lots of data available showing that users are losing patience with poor performing websites,” said Archie Roboostoff, product director at Borland. “It looks like a number of the sites monitored over the seasonal period will have missed out on potential revenue as a result of their website’s inability to process high levels of traffic. The sites we monitored in the UK had normal load times averaging 2.9 seconds, but saw load times increase by an average of 4.5 seconds during peak traffic periods – a 55% deterioration.Developing a robust performance strategy takes time, and peak period preparation should begin early with testing starting about six months beforehand. Putting in this groundwork is crucial if retailers are to take full advantage of peak shopping times throughout the year.”
Commenting further, Roboostoff said: “Clearly this is an issue that online merchants need to get a handle on. Online commerce is growing across channels, and smartphone adoption is on the increase around the world. The latest Ofcom International Communications Report shows that 58% of UK consumers now own smartphones, and that 23.1% of these smartphone users use their device to visit retail websites. Retail brands increasingly depend on a strong multichannel presence, and seasonal promotions provide a great opportunity to market to new audiences. However, poor website or app performance now has the potential to reduce revenue and damage brand reputation.”