The big news in 2012 has been the almost explosive growth in sales of tablet computers such as the Ipad. What has also been noted is that the people with these mobile devices often use them to make purchases. For example, according to a survey by comScore, the rapid adoption of iPads and other tablets is speeding up the growth in travel bookings on mobile devices. In the first half of 2012, the study estimates that 61% of tablet owners made a purchase on their device in the first half of the year, while 34% booked travel.
This suggests real opportunities for product marketers but there is a fly in the ointment.
If the website loads slowly then potential purchasers are not always forgiving and will switch to a more satisfactory competitor.
In fact, a Kissmetrics report on shopping cart abandonment found that 40 percent of people abandon a website that takes more than three seconds to load, and a less forgiving group of almost 50 percent of users expect a website to load in two seconds or less. This is just the latest in a slew of similar studies that have been produced since the dawn of the e-commerce era that concludes website performance has a direct correlation to revenue performance.
At times of hectic selling activity such as the period before Christmas, it can be more difficult to ensure that the website will maintain its down-loading performance. Indeed there are a number of reasons why any website may slow down particularly at holiday time.
- Unforeseen traffic spikes.
- Inadequate infrastructure support including website hosting
- Lack of maintenance to continuously improve loading times
- Inability to scale up to cope with rapidly increasing sales
- Insufficient monitoring of actual performance
The last three reasons are entirely within the company’s control. However the first two may be affected by the actions of others if shared hosting is used rather than having a dedicated server.
With shared hosting, web page loading times may be extended through traffic’s spikes either from the company’s own sales or from successful other suppliers who are sharing that same web hosting. With a dedicated server, the only factor to assess is the company’s own sales and whether these are growing much more than expected. It is most unfortunate if this happy circumstance causes web page loading times to deteriorate and in consequence a significant portion of potential sales are lost.
None of these factors is new. They have always been there to be considered for any e-commerce website. However customers now expect much better performance given their powerful mobile devices and you should not let them down. If you do, then you only have yourself to blame.
- ipad user image courtesy of Rego – d4u.hu via photopin cc
- dedicated server image courtesy of OndraSoukup via photopin cc