Are Online Retailers Too Slow to Satisfy Their Customers?

Discussion
Jul 24, 2013

Have you noticed that it is taking longer to get your shopping done online? It is, according to a new study on page speed and website performance, and that could be costing online merchants customers.

The study, State of the Union: Ecommerce Page Speed & Web Performance, Summer 2013, from Radware, a provider of application delivery and security solutions for cloud data centers, found that a growing number of the top 500 retail websites in the U.S. has slowed down. The media load time for a page was 7.72 seconds, a slowdown of 13.7 percent since the same period last year.

The research found the median time to interact (TTI) is now 4.9 seconds. TTI is the point at which a page displays its interactive content such as feature banners or call-to-action buttons. Only eight percent of the top 100 sites had a TTI under two seconds while nine percent took eight or more seconds.

"These findings are startling — retailers still don’t realize that they are losing customers," said Tammy Everts, web performance evangelist, Radware, in a statment. "Fifty-seven percent of consumers will abandon a page that takes longer than three seconds to load. Web pages need to work smarter and harder. Site owners not only need to adopt core best practices, but also utilize advanced techniques that optimize the browser’s efficiency."

The 10 fastest sites, according to Radware, are:

  1. Ikea.com (1.85s load time)
  2. Abebooks.com
  3. Pixmaina.com
  4. Groupon.com
  5. Adpost.com
  6. Walgreens.com
  7. CDUniverse.com
  8. Vitacost.com
  9. Nordstrom.com
  10. Forever21.com

 

Do you think online retailers should prioritize page speed over other positive attributes, e.g., design sophistication? Do you think three seconds is too long to wait for a page load?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.

Join the Discussion!

13 Comments on "Are Online Retailers Too Slow to Satisfy Their Customers?"


Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Mark Heckman
Guest
8 years 10 months ago

Speed of transactions for the sake of speed should not the goal, but rather how ergonomic and logical the process is for the potential purchaser. Reviewing how many steps it takes to make a purchase, and how the items offered are organized are among the important factors for an efficient online purchase.

Online shoppers do have higher expectations in terms of the pace of their purchase and waiting for pages to load unnecessarily, or having to start the process over when data is missing are just a couple of annoyances that will ultimately frustrate the shopper and kill the sale.

Perhaps even more so than their bricks and mortar competitors, online retailers need to keep the lines of communication open with their shoppers and react very quickly to customer feedback. The notion that your site was adequate last month, so it should still be getting the job done this month, is a dangerous assumption in the fluid and competitive environment of online retailing.

Joan Treistman
Guest
8 years 10 months ago
I believe that retailers have not aligned their website characteristics with qualities that satisfy customers. And that’s mostly because they focus on razzle dazzle sophistication instead of shopper perceptions. My in depth (eye tracking with interview) studies of visitor reactions to websites convinces me that retailers have been led astray by the thought that changes to their website pages are inexpensive. This article reinforces the true cost, i.e. loss of customers and their shopping dollars. It’s not about speed. It’s about the perception of speed, the context of speed and the impact of speed. If the visitor’s goal is to complete a particular transaction, they will want to garner their information quickly and next conveniently pay for the product(s). However, don’t mistake the speed to load a page with arriving at information quickly. If you direct the consumer to a page before the page with the actual product information or push out “you may also be interested in” too soon, you can drive that customer away. In other words an extra two or three seconds… Read more »
Zel Bianco
Guest
8 years 10 months ago

Absolutely, retailers should prioritize page speed. When I cannot log into a page, unless it’s something I truly am interested in, I will abandon the page and then the website all together. If I’m browsing, I more than likely have 10 other things to do, so my attention is diverted elsewhere. If there is a need, I will frustratingly wait.

Kenneth Leung
Guest
8 years 10 months ago

Speed is important, but not at the expense of delivering the right content in the right format. Ecommerce is not a drag race, it is about closing the sale. Obviously if the initial load screen is taking longer than the shopper expectation, you will see a drop in visitors and abandoned baskets. The best retailers fine tune the balance to make sure the majority of the visitors has a great experience in terms of load speed versus delivering content for their specific device.

David Livingston
Guest
8 years 10 months ago

Speed is important. I now realize that I will tend to go to sites that are fast and easy to use. The quickest way to get me NOT to use your website to for it to be slow, lots of graphics, small print, sounds and music. Three seconds is about as long as anyone should wait. Oh even worse, have advertisements pop up that I have to close or suffer through.

Jason Goldberg
Guest
8 years 10 months ago
Page speed is an endemic problem in e-commerce experiences. Sites are getting bigger and slower every year, even though we have overwhelming data that faster sites have higher conversion. The problem is that most of our presentation layer developers don’t understand how and aren’t yet motivated to focus on page performance. The result is that most of our front end code is very poorly optimized. Add in the fact that media keeps getting richer and larger. We’re using more responsive design techniques (which almost always result in worst page performance on every platform), and we use way too many third party pixels to build our e-commerce pages (analytics platforms, social tools, advertising tools, etc…), and you have a recipe for slow pages. Even worse, more and more traffic is moving to mobile with much lower bandwidth, usually served by third party proxy servers, multiple redirects, and/or bad responsive design implementations and experience on mobile is almost always slower. And the icing on the cake is very few sites even know how to properly measure page… Read more »
Ralph Jacobson
Guest
8 years 10 months ago

So many CPG and retail sites have become so “heavy” to load on most devices, especially mobile, that shoppers are indeed getting frustrated. There are some great examples of fast-loading site that are clean, simple, intuitive and effective places to navigate. Does the “Google” home page come to mind here?

Gordon Arnold
Guest
8 years 10 months ago
When facing an e-commerce market plan, any attempts to set aside speed as mission critical is suicidal. Anyone in all generations using the internet expects instant everything. So the message of concern for performance sake is clear and accurate. What “Radware” failed to directly include with the discussion information is both significant and important for this evaluation summary. The company, “Radware,” did vaguely disclose the test methodology used in this determination which is, of course, supportive of the data provided. But there are circumstances which are of equal value especially for current and future apps/site design and development which need to be included for aspect and range purposes. I would first disclose that my concerns place no faults in the conclusion or test methods used to validate the content of this discussion. However, when this information is placed into or measured on its own against the good book of the entire e-commerce market, it stands out as incomplete at best. The e-commerce society is solely dependent on and forced to adhere to the Information Technology… Read more »
Mike Spindler
Guest
Mike Spindler
8 years 10 months ago

Speed is one of the five essential elements that spell success for FMCG ecommerce or in-store planning. Not just page loads, but the entire experience. It is one of the reasons that lists are so important to regular visitors. Under 4 minutes for a $135 order is good. Under 3 minutes is much better.

Mark brings up another important issue. If you are not shopping your own site once a week, and getting others to shop it with you and giving you feedback, you will always be unpleasantly surprised by your customers.

Craig Sundstrom
Guest
8 years 10 months ago

Speed? Yes, of course (though I’m not sure “design sophistication” is a positive we need to balance against…not if it means logos taking off and rotating in space or penguins doing tap dances, or other things that seem to satisfy the creative urges of designers more than being practical to consumers).

But, as others have noted, there are other “musts” as well; though I don’t see why something like layout or clarity of design is an “either/or.”

Jerome Schindler
Guest
8 years 10 months ago

Some of the design features are just plain stupid. Why do you have to scroll down a list of 50 states to input the two letter abbreviation for your state? Most people know that. On some sites if you make an error it wipes out all the info you have entered and you have to start over.

Joseph Chengery
Guest
Joseph Chengery
8 years 10 months ago
As a digital marketer, I know that you must have fast websites that load. You have an average of about two seconds before your prospect is ready to head off elsewhere, and this is becoming even more commonplace because there is even more competition on the Internet nowadays compared to even just a few years ago. Additionally, most people have high-speed Internet, plus they have access to the Internet virtually everywhere whether it’s via PC, laptop, smartphone, tablet, game console, etc. As a result, loading times for your websites are incredibly important, probably more important than fancy designs or design sophistication. Most people aren’t looking for fancy graphics and shopping carts with tons of features, as this only confuses them and makes it more likely they will abandon the purchase. Yet, I know there are still many companies and entrepreneurs who are still focused on how good their site looks, what features the site has, etc. Studies and reports have shown that sites with the best content, simple checkout systems, and quick loading times are… Read more »
Tammy Everts
Guest
Tammy Everts
8 years 9 months ago

Thanks for the great write-up, George. I directed this research at Radware and helped author the report. If any of your readers have any questions about our methodology or findings, I’m happy to field them.

I also wrote a post on my blog, which your readers may find useful, in which I offered more background into why we undertake these benchmark studies and what led us to measure “time to interact” as a more meaningful user experience metric.

 

wpDiscuz

Take Our Instant Poll

How important is page speed to a retail website’s sales performance?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...