To keep their business afloat, e-commerce entrepreneurs should always keep track of every aspect of their business. Since we are talking about e-commerce, it should be stressed that running a successful e-commerce store is far not easy. A merchant must decide on the best shipping and payment options, keep track of numerous e-commerce KPIs, and promote their business to attract more customers. However, e-commerce website performance is exactly what affects the customer behavior and prevent your store visitors from making a purchase.
Let’s discover the reasons why website performance matters, explore the main pain points of every e-commerce website, and see the ways to track major performance indicators.
Why Does an E-commerce Website Performance Matter?
Numerous reports clearly show that website performance is the key parameter that impacts customer behavior. Let’s take a look at the report provided by Skilled, which was compiled on the basis of 12 case studies.
- 79% of buyers who are dissatisfied with the performance of a certain website say they won’t return to it again.
- 47% of consumers expect web pages to load in two seconds or less.
- 64% of smartphone users will leave a page that takes longer than four seconds to load.
Regarding the money loss – the results are even more dramatic. If you run a website which makes, let’s say, $100k per day, one small second in page speed load has the following impact:
- A one-second improvement generates an additional $7K daily.
- And the same one-second delay means 11% fewer page views.
Currently, Google considers the website loading speed as one of the main ranking factors, giving the preference to the fastest websites and placing them on the first positions in the search results. Therefore, if you desire to receive more organic traffic, your site productivity is the first thing to worry about. Thus, in case you have problems with it, you should definitely think of e-commerce performance optimization for your website.
E-commerce Platform Performance: What Can Go Wrong
Commonly e-commerce platforms are designed to be fast by default. The problems arise when underqualified developers start working on expanding the functionality, and the website’s performance gets worse and worse. Let’s identify the most critical pain points for the store’s performance.
Choosing the right hosting is a cornerstone of any e-commerce website since the hosting affects website load speed a lot. Each platform has its own specific requirements for the hosting, and we recommend you take them into account – this will keep your store fast and optimized for a long time.
#2 Out-of-the-box features
The more functionality a particular e-commerce platform provides out-of-the-box, the less third-party extensions and plugins you will have to install later. Let’s say, WooCommerce has only a few out-of-the-box features, and for turning it into a fully-fledged online store you’ll have to rely on numerous additional plugins. Unlike the Magento platform, which was specially designed for running an online store and provides a rich set of features.
#3 Third-party extensions and plugins
While enhancing the functionality of the website with any third-party integration, don’t neglect to run a performance analysis to ensure everything is fine with your website. E-commerce performance may suffer dramatically from low-quality extensions, plugins, third-party integrations and so on.
#4 Custom themes
Casually, most of the custom themes are developed to be fast and well-optimized. Nevertheless, you still can run into some poor-optimized themes choosing a new one for your store.
#5 Non-optimized images and media files
Overloading the website with non-optimized images and media-files makes the webpages heavier and slows download time. In that case, your visitors should wait longer until the page is fully loaded. People hate waiting!
Currently, caching is considered as the #1 feature for every e-commerce website. It efficiently eliminates performance bottlenecks, speeds up the access to the data, and improves overall performance by retaining frequently used data. In such a way, when the visitor comes back, their browser doesn’t have to reload the entire page.
How to Monitor Performance for Productive E-commerce Website Optimization
Analytics, undoubtedly, is the best way to keep a pulse on an e-commerce business. Tools for performance analysis are numerous: free and paid, basic and complex. Nevertheless, some of them have gained particularly high credibility. Here is the list of the most popular tools when it comes to website performance monitoring:
- Google Analytics. Free and powerful, this tool is more than enough for providing basic information on website performance.
- Google PageSpeed Insights. This software analyzes the website’s front-end, providing a website score from 0 to 100 points and offering relevant suggestions for optimization.
- GTmetrix. Enabling you to perform tests from 7 different locations, it also allows to set and compare website performance against various connection types (like Cable vs dial-up) to see how each affects your page loads.
- Pingdom. This tool provides insights about the number of requests per domain and what type of content gets the most requests. The report you receive outlines areas for improvement.
Now you know how important is your e-commerce website performance and how it can affect your customers’ behavior and conversions. All you need now is to use one of the mentioned performance tracking tools and check whether your online store follows major requirements or have any performance issues to be fixed.