Consumers have become even more comfortable with shopping online since the pandemic began — but they’re not patient about it.
A survey by Digital.com found 52% of online shoppers will leave a website if they have to wait more than six seconds for a page to load. People actually expect it to be much faster than that.
“Online shoppers think that pages on e-commerce sites should take, at most, two to three seconds to load. I think the biggest risk here for websites is not paying attention to this, and just thinking that creating a beautiful website is going to convert customers,” said Digital.com marketing executive Huy Nguyen.
Its survey of 1,250 e-commerce shoppers found 8% move on if a page takes more than just a second to load.
All of the big mainline e-commerce sites like Amazon, Walmart and other national retailers have armies of designers and programmers that make their sites incredibly fast and efficient, raising consumers’ expectations and raising the bar for smaller businesses selling their products and services online.
Aside from choosing a reliable company to host the site, Digital.com said there are several culprits that can slow a mom-and-pop retailer’s website performance. One of them, ironically, is all the free software out there that makes it easy to design and launch a website, such as WordPress or Shopify.
“There is a huge business and marketplace out there for third-party apps that anybody can go out and install a free app to help build out their websites. But what happens is, if you have too many of them on there and you forget to remove them, it eats into the resources of your website,” Nguyen said.
Outdated templates that aren’t optimized can be a cause of slow performance. So can pictures. Even with today’s blazing-fast broadband speeds, uploading full-resolution images is still a source of slow page load times.
And an e-commerce website that isn’t optimized for consumers’ phones is totally outdated today.
“The mobile experience is key. Everyone is doing it on their phones. They’re doing it on the go. So there is a big opportunity here to make sure you have a great mobile experience,” Nguyen said.
There are many free or inexpensive tools available for site managers to check page load speeds by analyzing a website’s infrastructure, assets and third party applications, and provide specific recommendations on what to fix.
Pages that load slowly are a top source of dissatisfaction for one in five online shoppers, and 45% of those surveyed said it leaves a negative impression of the company. Slow-loading pages can lead a visitor to suspect the website has issues with spam or malware. Security concerns are another top source of dissatisfaction.
Other top frustrations for online shoppers, according to Digital.com’s survey, are security concerns in general, and unclear or unintuitive site navigation.
Digital.com’s survey was conducted online Jan. 16. Its full results are posted online.