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Although the weather outside is anything but frightful, now is the time to prepare your site for a delightful holiday season. As the traditional 12 Days of Christmas carol illustrates, no one can prepare for the holiday rush in a single day. We have covered what drummers drumming and pipers piping can do for your eCommerce site, and in today’s post we explore how lords a leaping and ladies dancing can affect your site performance.
When customers find your site, you want them to have an incredible user experience and be blown away by the site design. The last thing you want is for them to experience a slow interface. Site speed and performance are not things your customer usually thinks about when perusing your site, unless those things are poorly executed. It doesn’t matter how customers get to your store (whether they click, leap or dance their way over), or how great it may look if your site is not prepared to handle holiday traffic. How many times have you left a brick and mortar store because of long lines and poor customer service? The same holds true online; nothing makes a customer click away to a different site quicker than having to wait for a page to load.
Congratulations! You have achieved your first holiday campaign goal: traffic is flowing to your site. Due to your creative marketing efforts, valuable content and well-executed email campaigns, you have your customers leaping over to your site. But there is no time to pat yourself on the back because the next challenge you face is to make sure your site is capable of handling that traffic. No matter how elegantly designed or user-friendly your site is, if performance is down your customers will leave.
A recent study by PEER 1 Hosting found that “81% of consumers expect faultless online shopping experiences.” With the possibility of 8 out of 10 customers leaving your site because of a sub-par shopping experience, getting your hosting in order is crucial for the holiday rush.The PEER 1 study also revealed that 65% of customers have abandoned an online shopping cart due to poor site performance and 52% said that a poor website experience “makes them think less of the brand.” Those statistics alone should make you want to double-check your hosting capabilities before the holiday shopping season.
If, after evaluating hosting options and current capabilities, you decide your store still needs a boost, then it is time to replatform. There’s no time to wait with this, because Cyber Monday will be here before you know it! Your sales results will thank you for replatforming while you still can, instead of waiting until after the holiday season. This infographic* is a great place to start when looking into replatforming.
How important is it to get those ladies dancing this holiday season? Studies have associated a 7% loss in revenue for every second of site load delay. That's money you can't afford to be losing this holiday season.
Additionally, from the aforementioned PEER 1 study results, two of the top three online shopping frustrations are slow web page load times and interruptions/timeouts.
But don't dance yourself into a tizzy just yet; tackling site speed issues can be easier than you think. Our IT guru, Derrik Nyomo, wrote a great guide to improving site speed. The tips don't require a tech specialist to complete and include things like reducing the size of images and checking log files for errors. Other useful steps to take to speed up your site are to enable caching, flat products and catalogs, and to install only those modules that are necessary. Check out our guide to improving site speed (below) for more tips.
Check back soon for Part 3 of the 12 Days of ECommerce Christmas, which will include maids a milking, how to distinguish between swans a swimming and geese a laying, and what five golden rings means for your product reviews.