According to statistics, 2014 was the biggest online shopping season in history with over 12.6% increase in online retail sales compared to previous years and there is no sign that further growth will slow in 2015. Research consultants stated that the 2015 online holiday shopping season will be bigger than ever and to take advantage of consumers heading online, eCommerce business owners needs to make sure that their websites are ready for the rush during festive season of Christmas and New Year.
Since website performance for eCommerce websites and mobile apps can have direct impact on conversions and payment transactions, it shouldn’t be overlooked if you want to capture the business opportunity. If a customer visits your website and experience difficulty in moving through pages due to slow speed or find anything broken, there are pretty good chance they will abandon their shopping cart and leave your site before completing their purchase. On the other hand, if visitors find your website easy to move through and find product easily, completes the payment and ordering process hassle-freely, that means your website is performing pretty well. Site performance and stability issues need to be acknowledged and resolved early to make sure that your business is completely ready for the holiday rush.
Why does site performance matter?
Online customers have no patience, more than 40% of visitors abandon the website which takes more than 3 seconds to load and 80% are less likely to buy and revisit that website again. While poor site performance is an issue any time of the year, it can be deadly during holiday season. Online consumers are rushing to get their shopping done before the holiday starts and are likely to have no patience for poor performing website. If your eCommerce website doesn’t meet online consumers need for performance, without any delay they are going to move on, and you are going to miss out on conversions. Moreover, according to Google’s new ranking algorithm, if your website has slow loading times, that means your SEO ranking will also get affected. Google gives more credit to websites which offers user-friendly navigation and takes less time to load.
If your website completely crashes during holiday season due to poor infrastructure not planned to sustain the traffic, not only will you lose sales but will also damage your online reputation. In today’s social media time, unhappy consumers are quick to publicly share their bad experience – and such negative feedback can ruin your business reputation.
How Can You Escape From Poor Website Performance
There are plenty of things you need to take into action and it’s important that you do them now so that your business succeeds with good sales when people are out there shopping in huge numbers on web. If there are issues with your website, this is right time to identify them, analyze and resolve them.
A slow website can be caused due to number of things such as low server memory, shared server hosting, un-optimised images, disabled caching and content served without HTTP compression and JS and CSS not compressed etc. There are numbers of tools available that can help you to detect the monsters causing slow performance.
Following are the steps you can take to start addressing the issues:
First of all, you need to set the benchmark for your website. You need to first analyse the current performance status of your website and based on reports you need to set the goal. Like how your website is currently performing and where would you like it to be when holidays roll around. Identify the average daily visitors in normal time period (ex: 1000 visitors with a maximum load time of 3 seconds). Now identify the average visitors during holiday season (make sure it is realistic) and choose an acceptable load time for those visitors (ex: 5000 visitors per day and acceptable load time of 4 to 5 seconds per page). Then, contact your technical development partner to achieve the feasible goals.
Analyse, Test And Determine Low-Hanging Fruit
Send an artificial traffic on your website to check if your web server has capacity to accommodate it without failing to meet your load time goal for holiday rush. If it’s not working fine then ask your technical web development partner to identify the low-hanging fruit such as un-optimised images and disabled caching which might be causing the issues. Attend the simplest issue first, test again and repeat the test until your website hit its goal. If your website goes down while accommodating expected traffic during the test then your website might be encountering sort of bottlenecking issue that needs to be attended as quick as possible or you might need to have dedicated server for your website.
Once you resolve your website current issues it is important that you show proactive approach to make sure any future issues are brought to your attention. It’s the last thing you would like to hear that your website has problems and there are people complaining to you about that when it’s the time for shopping. Test each and every aspect of your website because the sooner you can recognize the issues, the sooner you can resolve them and avoid potential loss of sales.
Website loading speed can massively impact your business, for both good and bad. If your website is up to speed and ready to handle the holiday rush you could gain significant advantage of the online shopping boom, reinforce the loyalty of existing customers and gain new customers.