M-Retailing

Sluggish speeds show UK’s e-retailers are unprepared for seasonal splurge – especially on mobile

A study of the UK’s leading e-retailers has revealed that poor page speeds are putting their Black Friday and Christmas sales at risk – with 57% of mobile shoppers being hardest hit.

The research, carried out by leading ecommerce and digital agency Visualsoft, found that 54% of leading e-retailers page speeds rated as ‘poor’, taking over nine seconds to load, and 32% only rated as fair, taking between six to eight seconds to load.

The analysis, in Visualsoft’s 2017 E-Retail Performance Report reveals that the most sluggish retailers (those rated ‘poor’) will lose 29% of all potential customers through site speed alone.  Those rated ‘fair’ will also suffer, losing about a quarter of all potential customers (24% to 28%).

Only 2% of the UK’s leading e-retailers received an excellent rating, loading in under four seconds, which is the speed required to ensure minimum customer drop-off.

Tim Johnson, chief sales officer at Visualsoft, explains: “Describing nine second load times as slow, might seem ridiculous to many retailers, but the evidence shows that over 50% of people expect a site to load in less than two seconds. For every additional second it takes to load, rates of conversion have been found to drop by up to 20%.”

He continues: “Our research shows that the UK’s top e-retailers are not acting to solve slow mobile device load speeds. With over half of Christmas and Black Friday online shopping expected to come from mobile devices this year, creating surges in traffic that will only further slow load speeds, could have a major impact on growth.”

The poor performance of top e-retailers opens the door for smaller, hungrier companies to steal a march on their major-league rivals.

Tim Johnson, chief sales officer at Visualsoft, adds: “Up and coming retailers may not be able to compete with the seasonal marketing spend of their larger competitors, but by maximising page load speeds, they can successfully scoop up those frustrated customers who want a speedier shop.

“We see great improvements with the companies we’re working with through our ‘Shared Success’ model, where we agree a percentage of increased sales rather than upfront fees for our work. Increases in page load speeds for mobile devices is one of the first things we look to improve in order to maximise conversions.”

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