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Ecommerce Season – Why Site Speed Matters More Than You Think in 2011

 

2011’s eCommerce Season Has Arrived

2011?s eCommerce season looks poised to continue the year-over-year trend and break records set in 2010.  The magic of eCommerce is that purchases can happen anywhere and anytime on any device. But it?s also a key component of the buying process with 94% of consumers doing online research before a purchase.  If your website speed is slow you will lose new sales, repeat sales and referrals. (Who would send a friend to a slow website?)

The Rise of  “Instant On” Expectations

Things have changed dramatically in the last 18 months.  The ?instant on? economy of ?see it, think it, buy it? is here.  You might be wondering what that means. I believe we have reached a tipping point. Devices like iPads can nearly instantly come to life, connect to the Internet at high speeds, and retrieve precise search results so quickly that consumers don?t think twice about buying anything anywhere.  Retailers have trained shoppers to believe that if we don?t buy it now, it won?t be there next time we come back or look again. Costco, eBay and the brands selling trends push this phenomenon the furthest.

Add to this theory the rapid rise of retargeting.  eCommerce sites are leveraging our previous searches and purchases to follow us around the web and wait for that moment where we are ready to buy.  This is the impulse buy of the new economy.  When modern web ads are clicked there is an assumption that the item will rapidly appear with images, descriptions, reviews and videos, all optimized for conversion to a sale. Any delay in the process can ?wake up? the buyer and potentially lose the sale outright or lose it to follow-on searches and competitive offerings.

That?s just one reason why a fast website vs. a slow website can mean the difference between success and failure.

The stats are stunning:

From RetailTouchPoints.com:

“One leading online furniture store made performance improvements that led to 20% faster page loads and was able to attribute an increase in revenue from online sales directly to this effort.”

From Shopzilla.com:

Improving the site speed of this popular eCommerce portal by 20% resulted in an improvement in conversion rates of 7% to 12%.  Page views went up by 25%.

Competing With The Big eCommerce Sites – Using Site Speed To Gain Competitive Advantage

Results with numbers like this can easily be the difference between merely having a presence online and competing to win by converting visitors to sales online.  Think about it for a moment ? RE/MAX Realtors (a global real estate network)  has several super-talented engineers all focused on site speed and performance analysis. Do you think their competitors in local markets do? Probably not.  However that ?instant on? phenomenon applies to sites large and small. Shopping for a home is time-consuming; any delays on a website will lose the visitor quickly.  To compete in 2011 and beyond, and to win in the eCommerce economy, a website needs to be fast.

The Internet is the great equalizer. Small- and medium-sized business can easily compete against the eCommerce giants.  The
BIA/Kelsey group has some great resources for local and smaller eCommerce sites, including a recent post with data from ComScore. ComScore data shows that U.S. Retail E-Commerce spending is up 14% in 2011.  Small- and mid-sized retailers are continuing to grow their market share against the top 25 retailers.

With some focus, testing and the right tools and vendors, any eCommerce website can compete against much bigger competitors.  With all its talk about page speed and its importance, Google has issued a battle cry.  Is your eCommerce website fast enough? Have you benchmarked your website against your competition? Want more stats? Check out Yottaa’s Infographic: “Every Millisecond Counts

Photo Courtsey of Flickr User:
schuss

 

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