Word-of-Mouth and Referral Marketing Blog

How to Shave off a Few Milliseconds From Your Ecommerce Page Loading Time and Gain a Huge Revenue Increase

How fast should your website be?

In this day and age, with ubiquitous mobile connections, you should expect that a majority of your users are accessing your website through a mobile device. For most publishers, shaving off a few seconds or milliseconds from their webpage loading speed can result in huge benefits in terms of user satisfaction and even retention — after all, 53 percent of mobile sites are abandoned if it takes more than three seconds to load. Three seconds!

Unfortunately, the average page load time for mobile websites is 19 seconds on a 3G connection, according to Google’s Doubleclick. Additionally, Google has been using mobile webpage loading times as a factor in how extensively its bots crawl your website. That means where you rank on popular search engine results will be largely affected by the overall speed and performance of your website.

And this isn’t just amongst desktop users; mobile page speeds will play a role in your SERPs as well.

Cutting mobile webpage loading time to 5 seconds versus the 19 second average gives publishers significant benefits, such as 25 percent higher ad viewability, 70 percent longer sessions, and 35 percent reduction in bounce rates. This can also result in twice the potential ad revenue than the average.

And that’s just for webpages.

When you’re running an ecommerce website or platform, speed becomes an even more crucial factor to the success of your business.

For example, Kissmetrics estimates that a 1 second page delay could cost an annual loss in sales of $2.5 million for an ecommerce site that earns $100,000 per day.

Want a way to counter these potential losses?

The answer, of course, is optimization. According to a case study shared by Mobify, every 100ms (yes, that’s milliseconds) improvement in homepage speed resulted in a 1.11 percent increase in session-based conversions, or an equivalent of $376,789 annually.

Similarly, a 100 ms checkout page speed improvement can result in a 1.55 percent increase in session-based conversions, resulting to $526,174 increase in sales.

Speed is a killer, after all. Slow speed can kill your business.

On the other hand, optimizing for a responsive site with fast loading times can help boost your bottom line.

Where do I start? Here are nine tips:

  1. Choose the right platform. Not all ecommerce platforms are built the same, and so you need to choose one that fits your needs and which could perform well under those circumstances. Do you plan to offer large amounts of products? You can opt for Magento for high-end, enterprise grade performance. Starting small? You can opt for a hosted solution like Shopify, which focuses on a social selling solution.
  2. Implement infrastructure improvements. There are certainly advantages in choosing a cloud-based service, especially if you have a global audience. You can further improve performance by deploying a content delivery network (CDN), which can both reduce website loading time and reduce server load.
  3. Optimize your ecommerce site elements. This includes reducing image size through compression or speeding up the way images appears through lazy-loading (which prioritizes images at the top of the page, in terms of bandwidth). Image optimization can be easily implemented with a CDN like Incapsula, for instance.
  4. Focus on mobile. A mobile-first approach can help you better ensure speedy ecommerce access. Mobile commerce will make up almost half of all ecommerce transactions by 2020, so it pays to ensure a good user experience for those using smartphones and tablets.
  5. Do away with heavy scripts. Ditch the Flash and other elements that can potentially result in a good-looking but heavy website. Instead, use better technologies that can offer a similar user experience without sacrificing performance.
  6. Do some regular maintenance. Spring cleaning is also important for any digital asset or service. Update your software and scripts regularly. This will help ensure optimal resource utilization, and it will protect against potential security vulnerabilities. Remove unnecessary extensions and even content.
  7. Speed up checkout. Amazon earns billions of dollars in revenue from its 1-click feature. Frictionless transactions are also a top highlight for other major brands and services. Do you ever wonder what makes Uber so wonderful to use as a service? Payments are automatically processed and you don’t even have to pull out your wallet for cash (unless you want to pay in cash, as with some jurisdictions).
  8. Never stop testing. A/B testing can be as simple as changing a single design element. It can also involve content such as copy and images. You should focus on improving revenue with your tests and not just conversions.
  9. Don’t forget customer feedback. Lastly, you should trust your customers to tell you what they want and need. You can actively seek feedback from your customers on their pain points through surveys — don’t forget to give incentives for those who participate.

Referral Programs

Okay, so you have meticulously followed all nine of the above-mentioned steps for boosting your ecommerce shop’s speed and are seeing some great results by way of more site traffic, higher conversions, and even an increase in sales.

But why not take it one step further?

How you ask? Easy.

Give your site visitors, the ones that are impressed by the killer content you provide, the value your products and service bring to their lives, and the speed in which your website loads, the opportunity to share your online store with people they know – and reward them for it.

If you haven’t guessed it by now, I am talking about implementing a referral program on your website.

Referrals are a huge part of building a successful online business. In fact, it has been suggested that 84% of B2B decision makers start the buying process with a referral. That’s because people want to know beforehand whether a business they are about to spend their hard-earned cash on is worth it. And, what better way to do this then to rely on those you trust by way of a referral.

Still not convinced?

To add to that, it is thought that referral leads are 30% more likely to convert into finalized purchases than leads generated through any other marketing efforts. Suffice to say, relying on loyal customers to refer your business to others is crucial to the growth and success of your online shop.

Referral Programs that Work

Starting a referral program can be a daunting task if you are not sure where to start. And, while referral programs are all different depending on the individual business’ needs and overall goals, there are some very convincing programs out there that can serve as excellent inspiration before you craft your very own.

1. Google

Yup, the very company that is ranking your ecommerce shop based on factors such as site traffic and page loading speed has their very own referral program in place to generate more revenue.

Simply refer someone you know that is in need of a Google’s G Suite (the all-in-one business package including Gmail, Docs, Drive, and Calendar), and get $15 in cold hard cash. Refer an entire business of users and receive up to a whopping $1,500.

2. Evernote

Popular amongst website owners like yourself, Evernote offers referrers a sweet deal every time they convince someone they need to sign up for Evernote services. And, they make it easy to refer someone – simply send out an email invitation or post a link on your website so those that are interested can easily sign up.

Evernote rewards their referrers in points to that can be used on monthly or annual subscriptions to Evernote Premium.

3. Dollar Shave Club

Known for their hilarious and extremely effective video ads, Dollar Shave Club is also known for rewarding those that spread the word about their online shave club.

Using your very own referral link, anyone that signs up for a razor subscription and pays in full will garner you $5 in Club credits. Share your referral link on social media or email invites to friends and family. It’s as easy as that.

In the end, it doesn’t matter what type of ecommerce shop you run. Referral programs will play an integral part in your overall success. After all, happy customers are likely to share with others the good experience they have with your company. And, if you start rewarding them for sharing your company with others, they are even more likely to do exactly that.

Creating Your Own Referral Program Using ReferralCandy

If you have taken all the necessary steps to create a stunning ecommerce shop by way of design and functionality, optimize your shop to perform at its highest potential in terms of speed, and are ready to capitalize on your growing website by way of a referral program, look no further than ReferralCandy.

Designed as an ecommerce store plugin to get your referral program underway, ReferralCandy works wonders for generating you more sales:

  1. Choose from cash, discounts, credits, or free products for your rewards
  2. Upload your company’s logo and banner and let ReferralCandy design the rest
  3. Utilize email campaigns and website widgets to promote your referral program
  4. Allow your loyal customers to promote your business for you
  5. Let ReferralCandy automatically disburse rewards

Altogether, setting up a referral program for your ecommerce shop has never been easier. Even the most novice of online shop owners can take advantage of this easy-to-use plugin and start reaping the rewards for having an amazing website that performs well and sells great products and services.

The takeaway

In the end, there is no such thing as too fast when it comes to ecommerce and mobile commerce page loading speeds. On fact, from a customer’s perspective, there is only “too slow”.

Make sure your ecommerce platform does not fizzle out and die because it does not deliver a pleasant user experience. Continuously optimize, test, and seek feedback. With good numbers, you can potentially get good returns. Maybe even millions of dollars in increased revenue per year.

And to top it off, add to those sales by capitalizing on the speed and performance of your website and create a referral program that encourages others to share the good news about your company. After all, making use of your optimized website is not only going to reward you with thousands, if not millions, in increased revenue per year, it’s going to reward you with more loyal customers than you know what to do with.

Rotem Gal

Rotem has a long track record in inbound marketing, strategy and online brand development. With a focus in building digital and social media engagement, Rotem helps brands to expand their online brand footprints. Rotem is the VP Sales of InboundJunction, a premium content marketing agency in Tel Aviv. You can connect with him on LinkedIn or follow him on Twitter.