4 main reasons to improve your page loading speed

It all starts simple - set up and sell great products. Time goes by, you're working hard on it, constantly striving to improve it so it better serves your audience. You do marketing, produce content, improve offerings, develop and add new products, advertising. The amount of people coming to your store is growing, orders are flowing in.

You've likely been actively adding/removing some Apps, 3rd party services, maybe hired a freelancer or two to complete some extra functionality. All of this can negatively impact the load speed and performance of your store. Huge businesses have realized how important this is and are quickly addressing the issue.

Higher conversion rate

Different sources and studies give different numbers, but it is certain: load speed impacts conversion rate.

This report from Akamai.com found out that a 100ms delay in website load can decrease CVR by 7%. Case study done by performance expert Tammy Everts on a client store showed that 2 second improvement in loading speed increased CVR by 66%.

Even if improvement won't be so drastic for you, even 0.1% increase is enough to see the difference in the end of the year.

Lower bounce rate

Google: An extra 0.5 seconds in each search page generation would cause the traffic to drop by 20%

Amazon has calculated that a page load slowdown of just 1 second could cost it $1.6 billion in sales each year.

How many of your visitors won't wait another second? Google again:

The average time it takes to fully load the average mobile landing page is 22 seconds. However, research also indicates 53% of people will leave a mobile page if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load.
You can read a full report made by Thinkwithgoogle.com

Okay, the data speaks for itself. At least for the giants. But how relevant is this for Shopify? I think it's A LOT more relevant.

Google and Amazon have almost no competition. If one day Google will start loading 1-2 seconds instead of current 0.5-1s, I will likely swallow it. Amazon users enjoy convenience. But they also like to support their favorite brands. Every time your customer chooses your brand over Amazon you win. Every time you give them bad experience, they know where to look for.

Higher average order value

Users are more willing to browse a site that works as expected and loads fast. Even if they're patient enough (rarely the case) to actually finish the purchase, they will visit fewer product categories and products. More products shown means they're more likely to add to their carts, especially if you're utilizing some kind of suggestion/upsell mechanism. This in turn will increase the average order value.

Fast and responsive sites make customers' experience pleasant and they won't think twice before coming back for more. Slow and buggy stores are pissing users off. You should make sure there are as few obstacles as possible on their way to checkout. Don't let them be distracted before the sale is made.

Search rankings

Google: 2 seconds is the threshold for ecommerce website acceptability.

Yikes. TWO seconds? Do they mean it? In fact they do:

People want to be able to find answers to their questions as fast as possible — studies show that people really care about the speed of a page. Although speed has been used in ranking for some time, that signal was focused on desktop searches. Today we’re announcing that starting in July 2018, page speed will be a ranking factor for mobile searches. full announcement here

Mobile searches surpassed desktop searches back in 2015, and it's growing to this day. Many of my clients' stores have 90% mobile traffic.

And since you have to spend a lot of resources to get a customer to visit your site, especially if they're coming from some kind of ads, would be smart to do everything in your power to not scare them away. If a user is welcomed by a long loading of your store, they'll just click back, or get distracted by some notification on their phone. In the end part of your marketing budgets are flushed down the drain just because part of your audience is not patient enough to wait for your pages to load.

Conclusion

In this post I wanted to briefly touch an important topic of e-commerce speed.
I know you all striving to provide the best experience possible. You don't mean to hate your users with bad performing store. And I realize there are tens of things that are even more important - like product quality, customer support etc etc. Just please don't throw the website optimization to "sometime later" category of your list. It hurts your bottom line the longer you ignore it.

Best of all? You don't have to have crazy budgets to do that. In my experience ANY Shopify store can be brought down to sensible 3-4 seconds or less. It's highly unlikely it can be faster than 2 seconds, because e-commerce site functionality requires a lot of stuff, plus everyone have to have some tracking scripts, nice high-res images, and certainly some extra functionality in the form of apps. But it also shouldn't be painfully slow to load.