- Nico Bistolfi
Speed is the cornerstone of digital experience. If a consumer has to wait one second, you can lose up to 20% of conversions on mobile. Amazon would lose $1.6 billion in revenue if their site took just one second longer to load.
People may wait for a blog to load, but think about how long you’ll wait for an eCommerce website to load – it's not long.
If checkout takes too long or you’re stuck trying to add a product to your cart, chances are, you’ll abandon the cart and go to a competitor. Front end optimization is a good starting point for retailers, but you can use quick fixes to speed up your mobile site today.
5 Steps to a Faster Mobile eCommerce Website
1. Benchmark Your Site
You need a starting point that outlines the speed of your site from the very beginning. This is important because this benchmark will be referred to multiple times as you continue to optimize your site.
There are a few tools that you can use to find these benchmark numbers:
Use a tool that you’re most comfortable using – there are a lot of them.
2. Reduce Your Page Weight
We know that every second of load time leads to a lot of lost users. People have short attention spans, and they’re willing to leave your site for a competitor’s site if your load speed is too slow.
Page weight, or the size of your site to download, should be the first metric that you try to optimize.
For example, you can assume that a site that’s 3MB will load faster than a 4MB site. Since we’re focusing on mobile, ping is generally higher, and speeds may be drastically lower than on a wired Internet connection.
While nearly 80% of sites have a size of 1MB or higher, only 23% have a size of 4MB or higher. Keeping page weight as low as possible on mobile is the key to success. You can start with basic optimization of your:
- Other files
Reduce the file sizes as much as you can while still maintaining the high quality that your users expect.
3. Remove Unnecessary Features
If your site needs to lose page weight, start with an overhaul of your design and features. Image carousels are a good place to start. Since most users will only look at the first picture in the carousel, remove the excess.
You should also look at your site for:
- Plugins that are loading, but are no longer used
- Files that are loaded and not used
- Images that can be removed
Removing these unnecessary elements and files can lead to a faster-loading site that doesn’t lose any features in the process. Test your images and take action.
4. Search Optimization
Users don’t want to wait or spend too much time browsing your site to find a product that they want to purchase. You should add a search to your site to help users find the products that they’re looking for with the greatest ease.
Place the search above the fold and autocorrect any typos that are made.
Even if search adds a very small amount of time to your site’s load time, it’s going to be worth it from a user’s standpoint.
5. Reduce Your Checkout Speed
Abandoned shopping carts are a major problem for eCommerce sites. Consumers get to the checkout process, or at least add items to the cart, and then something happens. You should be sending out reminders if a cart is abandoned to capture these potential sales.
But you should also spend time to learn why people are abandoning their carts.
- Is the cart taking too long to load?
- Is the checkout process too long or complicated?
- Are you remembering past users and purchase information?
- Do you allow multiple forms of payment, including PayPal, Stripe, Google Pay, etc.?
- Are you asking for a lot of data?
If your checkout process requires too many steps, reduce these steps to as few as possible. The fewer steps a consumer has to take to make a purchase, the higher the chance that you’ll make a sale.
Even some of the biggest sites and platforms in the world can be optimized further to improve the digital experience.
Let's take a look at a few ways we would optimize Shopify.
How We Would Optimize Shopify to Run Faster
If we were optimizing Shopify sites or the Shopify main site, we would put a lot of these same techniques discussed above into practice. We know that a major site like Shopify has been optimized, but how optimized is it really?
We run a test from the Shopify Home through our Image Speed Test, and we find a lot of great ways that we can improve the site.
- The site has a performance score of 73%.
- Load time is 3.8 seconds, with a total page weight of 2.23 MB.
- The images can be resized for better performance.
- We can easily get the performance score to 90%.
Using proper optimization, we can reduce the image rate of 203 KB down to just 99 KB. This alone would reduce load times significantly.
There are a total of 102 page requests occurring on the site, and we can reduce up to 5% immediately with Lazy Loading.
Resizing the images and delivering at high-quality is a challenge but you can try to compress your images with this tool. You can learn about how to improve the digital experience of your users and learn which is the best image format.
Many users of Shopify could follow these same tactics to speed up their eCommerce site and improve their sales. Shaving off just a second in load time can boost sales by as much as 20% - that’s significant.
Routine performance monitoring and small tweaks to your site ensures that the digital experience is positive, you lose less sales and consumers are happier.