How Your Site Speed Is Hurting Your eCommerce Business

If you operate an eCommerce business, you may already be aware of how crucial it is to have a site that loads quickly across all devices.

Table of Contents

We can help
To learn more about improving the customer experience, just reach out to us or schedule a demo. We are here to help.

Post updated March 30, 2022.

If you operate an eCommerce business, you may already be aware of how crucial it is to have a site that loads quickly across all devices. Progress in 5G and other technologies can only do so much. Your site speed is crucial to your eCommerce success.

But, the numbers show just how much a slow website affects your conversions. Milliseconds of lag time can add up to millions of dollars in lost revenue every year. The first 5 seconds of page load time has the highest impact on conversion rates — between seconds 0-5, conversion rates drop by an average of 4.42% with each additional second of load time.

Clearly, consumers expect sites to load very quickly. Site speed is an essential metric for every online business, but it is especially mission critical for eCommerce stores. Your customers will be less likely to make it through checkout if your pages do not render fast enough for their preference.

Simply put, the quicker your site loads, the better experience your customers will have, and the more revenue you will rake in.

Here are four big reasons why you should prioritize your page loads and site speed:

It Makes a Huge Difference in Your Conversion Rate

Any improvement you can make to your conversion rate is a direct improvement on your bottom line.

Online retailers have reported that even seemingly minor increases in their page load times have significantly impacted their conversions. In a Deloitte study, researchers found that with a 0.1s improvement in site speed, “Retail consumers spent almost 10% more, while lead generation and luxury consumers engaged more, with page views increasing by 7% and 8% respectively.”

When it comes to loading times, online consumers are unforgiving. As page load times go from:

  • 1s to 3s, the probability of bounce increases by 32%.
  • 1s to 5s, the probability of bounce increases by 90%.
  • 1s to 6s, the probability of bounce increases by 106%.
  • 1s to 10s, the probability of bounce increases by 123%.

And fast loading times are part of the customer experience. Companies are competing for dwindling attention spans, so in the time it takes your site to load, your customer may have moved on to a new tab or app. 

In fact, customers often overestimate how much time they are actually willing to wait. When asked to self-report, three-quarters of shoppers said they’d wait 4 seconds or more before abandoning the page. But, analytics from Google show that most users bounce after 3 seconds.

The consequences of a slow site are serious: You could be losing as much as a third of your revenue due to slow site speed.

You’ll Never Be Able to Compete Against Amazon Without a Fast Site

Amazon is the gold standard for online selling today. The retail giant owns about 41 cents out of every U.S. dollar spent on eCommerce.

Not surprisingly, Amazon is absolutely obsessed with improving its site speed. The company was an early innovator in studying how latency rates in the milliseconds affect its conversion and bounce rates, sales and revenue.

All of this focus on speed has paid off for Amazon. Prime Day sold $10.4 billion in merchandise in 2020 and the annual event is their most successful. But, Amazon does not only see Prime Day as a way to generate revenue in typically slow months. They also use it as a dry run for Q4, the most lucrative quarter in eCommerce. In 2018, Prime Day was plagued with slow speeds and crashes. Since that time, they have continued to refine and expand their infrastructure to make the shopping experience seamless for millions of shoppers at once.

Slow Site Speed Stunts Search Rankings

Site speed matters to Google. The search giant began using site speed as a ranking factor in 2010. Today, Google includes “mobile-first” rankings that favor pages that load fast on mobile devices.

Google’s algorithm will compare your page speed to your competitors and give you bonus points for having a faster site.

“A search result for a resource having a short load time relative to resources having longer load times can be promoted in a presentation order, and search results for the resources having longer load times can be demoted,” Google revealed in a patent filing made in 2014.

Google includes a Speed Calculator and Impact Calculator in its SEO tools to help companies see how their speed affects their search rankings and even quantify the revenue lost or gained by loading times.

To be fair, site speed is just one factor among many that Google uses to determine your search rankings. But in a hyper-competitive environment for eCommerce dollars, every improvement in your Google rankings can translate into actual revenue.

Speed Is Critically Important in a Mobile-First World

According to Google’s recent research, the average mobile landing page takes 15.2 seconds to load. But, cutting load time pays exponentially — based on a 0.1s site speed improvement, Deloitte observed an 8.4% increase in conversions with retail customers and an increased average order value of 9.2% for mobile shoppers.

That is why Google is cracking down on slow mobile sites by using page load times as a factor in its mobile-first rankings, as mentioned earlier.

Site speed is not just important for mobile SEO. It is critical to the success of your business, period.

That is because much of eCommerce is moving over to the mobile web. Mobile-powered commerce sales currently make up 72.9% of the share of all ecommerce transactions. This means that the majority of users are experiencing your website through their mobile devices, not a laptop or desktop computer. If your business is not keeping up with consumers’ high expectations for a quick and painless shopping experience, you are going to be left behind.

One final word on site speed: You only have one chance to make a first impression. According to Unbounce, nearly 70% of consumers admit that page speed influences their likelihood to buy.

Consumers equate speed with legitimacy. Site speed is one of the main drivers of the customer experience; a smooth purchasing experience sets the stage for a brand advocate. Air360 can help you tighten your load time and identify other on-page analytics to increase your conversion rate. Learn more, and book a demo today.


Don't forget to share this post!

Keep Reading