Did you know that the latest statistics quote shopping cart abandonment rates at a whopping 68.63% on e-commerce websites? That accounts for over two-thirds of your business’ potential sales! The question then arises, how can your e-commerce business overcome such a high abandonment rate and increase sales? The answer: improved e-commerce site performance. Even one second shaved off your page load times can boost conversions by 7%!
Yottaa, a web and mobile optimization company, recently reached out to a panel of 32 e-commerce, technical, and marketing experts to ask them the following question: What’s the most common mistake large e-commerce sites make with web performance and speed? Among all the answers and pieces of advice, a few common themes emerged as the most important steps e-commerce businesses should take to improve site performance.
Share the following tips with your IT team to improve your site’s performance, decrease shopping cart abandonment, and boost conversions.
Use a Quality Web Host for a Solid Foundation
From our perspective, the most important facet of your e-commerce website is the foundation behind it – your web host. Ben Chafetz, Director of Client Services for 121ecommerce.com agrees. He emphasizes the importance of web hosting for highly effective e-commerce sites in Yottaa’s article:
“I can’t stress this enough: a good hosting company means less money spent on Rolaids. Look for 24/7 support and a guaranteed response time. Not an automated response, but a real person. You should be able to call your hosting company whenever you need to and reach a person immediately. All the hosting companies we work with go the extra mile for their customers and can and will do basic System Admin work for you. We work closely with ZeroLag, iNetU, and Peer 1. We also work with Liquid Web. We have had great experiences with all of them.”
Utilize Product Images Optimized for Fast Load Times
In a previous blog, we’ve detailed a steps your IT team can use to properly optimize images for your website – it’s a step that many of Yottaa’s experts agreed was important. Oleg Korneitchouk, Director of Marketing at SmartSites, explains why image optimization ranks so highly among e-commerce website mistakes:
“Using non-optimized, overly large images throughout the website [is a common mistake]. When businesses take high resolution images and don’t properly resize and optimize the format for web, images are unnecessarily large in file size and hamper web performance. It’s best to resize them to fit their purpose, save them in the proper file type and compress them losslessly using one of the many tools online.”
Leverage Browser Caching to Ensure Visitors See Content Quickly
Another frequently mentioned mistake by Yottaa’s experts is not implementing caching. Yauhen Khutarniuk, SEO and traffic acquisition manager at Link-Assistant.com, explains why browser caching specifically is so helpful:
“Leveraging browser caching is crucial in improving site speed for eCommerce websites, yet it’s an aspect that’s often ignored. Webmasters should specify an explicit caching policy. A great first-hand source for these recommendations is PageSpeed Insights from Google Developers.”
Compress Your Files & Resources & Speed Up Content Delivery
Compressing files with gzip compression is an important step your IT team should take to reducing file sizes and speeding up content downloads. Joel Trost, senior software engineer at Avalara, explains how compression can help load times:
“A common mistake large eCommerce websites make is not thinking about efficient content delivery. More specifically, a failure to configure servers to deliver a website gzipped. Gzipping a website will compress the website content, typically to one-third the original size. This can have tremendous impact on the speed at which the website will load for users by reducing the amount of information they need to receive. Assuming a constant Internet speed for two different users, the gzipped website may be served 66% faster than the website that is not gzipped. Gzipping a website is relatively easy as it’s supported by all major web servers and browsers.”
Optimize for Mobile Devices & Allow Visitors To Shop Anywhere
In addition to simply speeding up your e-commerce site, you also need make sure your IT team has optimized it for mobile – an ever-growing platform for e-commerce sales. Kate Hiscox, CEO of Venzee, acknowledges that online stores need to be optimized for mobile in order to compete.
“Online stores need to be optimized for mobile. The Goldman Sachs Group estimates that by 2018, $626 billion dollars (representing approximately half of all ecommerce), will be done via mobile. Given that, in 2018, eCommerce sites that are not designed with a responsive layout or without a mobile experience in mind will lose out on half of their eCommerce opportunities. Many large commerce sites today still haven’t optimized their mobile experience …”
Utilize a Content Delivery Network & Ensure Your Site Loads Quickly Around the Globe
We’ve often recommended a content delivery network as an excellent solution your IT team should consider to solve page load issues, and Warren Moore, technical director for Verb Brands, agrees. He claims that not using a CDN is one of the most pressing issues facing large e-commerce sites:
“It doesn’t matter how few images you might think you have – utilize a CDN! CDNs work by distributing your imagery and other web assets to several different geographical destinations (called nodes) and serving content directly to users from their nearest node. Not only do you get the benefits of powerful server clusters doing the work of serving up the bulk of your website’s data, but by downloading content from a node close to them, consumers receive a consistent experience regardless of where in the world they shop from.”
From image optimization to file compression, there are plenty of tweaks your IT team can make to improve your website performance and increase conversion rates – however, if you don’t have a solid web host backing your site up, your business is doomed from the start. Find out if your web host measures up and have your IT department reach out to our Solutions team today.