Shopify, the renowned platform for developing ecommerce stores completed its billionth order in the second quarter of 2018. This shows the credibility and reliability of the platform. More than 800 thousands merchants use Shopify as their ecommerce platform. The reason is obvious, it is quite easy and simple to launch an ecommerce store on Shopify. Shopify is the best choice for those ecommerce stores that sell goods or services and require a minimal amount of configuration. If you’re in the camp of entrepreneurs who are looking to branch out into the eCommerce space, we recommend using Shopify to power your store.
It is easy to set up & use and creates a visually appealing online store. There are numerous app integrations and have high security and reliability in this platform. You can get powerful marketing tools, mobile responsiveness, outstanding customer support, and easy payment.
You would be surprised to know that Shopify has over 2 million active users, spread between more than 1 million businesses. Shopify has a share of nearly one-third of the ecommerce market with most of the businesses in the United States. Brand loyalty has been increasing for Shopify merchants: over half of the shops have repeat customers.
However, developing and launching an ecommerce store on Shopify is easy but to retain it for a long term requires efforts and investments. There are multiple things that need to be in focus to retain the traffic and increase sales on your ecommerce store. Speed is one of those important factors.
Speed is one of the most critical factors of any web application, especially an ecommerce store. If your website takes more than 3 seconds to load, it will drastically increase the bounce rate. The user would go to your competitor. As per research, nearly half of the online shoppers say that they are less likely to buy something if a site loads slower than expected. Here are some other important stats:
- 79% of customers “dissatisfied” with web performance are less likely to buy again.
- 64% of smartphone users expect a website to load in 3 seconds or less
- 47% of online shoppers expect web pages to load in two seconds or less.
Also read: How To Create A Shopify App Using PHP?
How to check the speed of your Shopify store?
There are many 3rd party tools available to measure your site speed. Some of the popular ones are:
Why Loading Speed issues occur in your Shopify Store?
You must have heard an adage “slow and steady wins the race”. Well, this may be true for our daily life achievements but not a case on the web. It is a recipe for failure for your ecommerce store. Your ecommerce should be as fast as possible. But how does your site get slow? Here are the potential reasons:
1. Unoptimized Images
In an ecommerce store, almost half of the content is HD quality images of products and other sections. High-resolution images consume a lot of bandwidth while loading. These images increase the size of your web pages and unnecessarily reduce website speed. Image format is also another reason. For e.g. JPEG images are smaller in size vis-à-vis to other image formats such as PNG, GIF and Next Gen image formats like WebP.
- Analyze the images of your site. Any image of more than 1MB is not acceptable
- Take use of JPEG and WebP instead of other formats, especially for high-resolution images.
2. JS issues
- Regular audit your JS scripts to check what you actually require and what you don’t.
- Asynchronous loading is mandatorily required.
- You can also use a single script for all the tools such as Google Tag Manager or Segment.
3. Extra Flash Content
Flash is a useful tool for adding a good level of user interaction on your ecommerce store but it can cause your site slower. Generally, it is bulky in size. More the size of the file slower will be your site.
Removing the unnecessary flash files or eliminating them will increase the page speed. If you want to make the site speed faster, you can give an eye for the HTML5 alternatives for replacing the flash content.
- Flash is heavier in size and not optimal for the performance
- Look for HTML5 replacements
4. HTTP Requests
Heavy use of JS, CSS, and images increases the HTTP requests on your site. When a customer will visit your ecommerce store, the browser performs several requests for loading each file. These requests decrease the loading speed.
- You can use Sprites for reducing the HTTP requests count.
- You can also reduce the number of CSS, JS, and image files in order to decrease HTTP requests.
- Minifying CSS and JS files will reduce the files users have to download for rendering the page.
5. Not using Caching Techniques
Caching is amongst the best ways for improving the site speed by leaps and bounds. If you are not caching then you can’t achieve better speed. It’s a technique that lets you store frequently used data points in the ‘cached memory’.
When the user makes subsequent requests for the same content the browser can serve the content from cached memory. This speeds up the whole data rendering process. You can use browser and page caching to see a significant improvement.
A browser caches files for faster access. Use it to lower the start render time.
Page caching also improves the speed of your Magento store to a great extent. It serves the already visited pages from the cache. It reduces the load off time of the server and makes the store platform a lot faster. You can also use 3rd party plugins for Page Caching.
- Leverage caching for better performance
- You can cache a bunch of things from HTTP, Database Queries, to images.
- Caching is a tricky thing. Do it carefully and always test it on a staging site before deploying.
6. Not a clean code
If the site developers haven’t adopted proper coding format and have used unclean code, then it can also make your site slower. Some of the common mistakes in the site code are excessive white spaces, inline stylings, empty new lines, and unnecessary comments.
First, reduce these unnecessary elements from the code and then compress the code. It will reduce the file size and the overall page speed. It can also help in a boost in SEO rankings. If you are not comfortable with coding, there are several online tools that can be used to clean and minify your stylesheet files.
- Give attention to the code details
- Use inline CSS but to a limited extent
- Don’t create multiple CSS stylesheets
Also read: How to develop an eCommerce website
7. Too Many Ads
Obviously, you require advertisements for monetizing the high traffic web applications. But the ads should not impact the user experience. Don’t let too many ads be another reason why your website is slow. The huge number of advertisements increases the HTTP requests which can make your site unresponsive. In simple words, limiting the advertisements on your site will help in better performance.
- Use advertisements only where they are required. It will improve user experience, performance, and also the CTR.
What are the effects of low speed on your eCommerce?
Time is money in ecommerce. A slower website can lose its customer to a faster website. Poor speed on your ecommerce store will not just affect the sales but also your overall brand reputation. You have already a lot of money for developing your ecommerce store and in marketing for acquiring new customers. But not if it takes too much time to load, you alienate them the minute they click through to your store.
Website speed is an officially announced ranking factor in Google’s Algorithm. When a website loads slowly, users spend less time there. Poor On-page metrics such as time on page, pages per visit, bounce rate, etc. result in less organic traffic. If your website loads slower than your competition ranking in the top 10, then you are giving yourself a serious disadvantage in being able to outrank them.
Also read: Magento vs WooCommerce vs Shopify vs Opencart: Best Ecommerce Platforms 2020
Stats to focus upon
- 73% of mobile internet users have been on a website that was too slow to load.
- 80% of users said a slow loading website was more frustrating than a temporarily down website
- A 1-second delay in page response can result in a 7% reduction in conversions
- If your ecommerce site is making $50,000 per day then it can lose $1.25 million sales every year from that 1-second delay.
- The conversion rates increase by 74% when page load times improve from 8 to 2 seconds.
- 73% of consumers won’t return to an ecommerce store if it doesn’t load on their mobile device
How lack of speed wastes Paid Media Ads (PPC)?
Page Speed and load times correlate with a higher quality score. Google considers a slow load time to be the regional average plus three seconds, and if your page’s load time is below this threshold, it could be negatively affecting your quality score. If it takes too long for your website to load when someone clicks on your ad, they are more likely to give up and leave. This unwelcome behaviour can signal to Google that your landing page experience is poor, which could negatively impact your ad rank.
- Walmart: Walmart increased its primary conversion by 2% for every 1-second load of improvement.
- Yahoo: Yahoo increased traffic by 9% for every 400 milliseconds of improvement
- Amazon: Amazon reported a 1% loss in revenue per 100 milliseconds site load delay.
- Microsoft: Microsoft found that BING searches just 2 seconds slower resulted in a 4.3% drop in revenue per user.
- Firefox: Mozilla Firefox improved conversions by 15.4% shaving off 2.2 seconds of load time.
- Obama: Former President Obama’s fundraising campaign increased donation conversion by 14% when page speed improved from 5 to 2 seconds.
How to Optimize your Shopify Store For Speed?
Apart from optimizing the above-mentioned factors which makes your site slower, you can also adapt these techniques for improving your Shopify Store Speed:
1. Choose a Fast theme for your site
The theme is highly responsible for the speed of your Shopify store. Henceforth, before implementing the chosen theme on your ecommerce store you should check:
- Speed of the theme’s preview page by reviewing it on Google PageSpeed
- If the theme is slow then either go for any other alternative or see the suggestions on Google PageSpeed.
Learn more: How to develop a mobile-friendly eCommerce website
2. Make use of Fast and Reliable Hosting
The website speed can vary as per the user’s mobile internet and device speed. However, your hosting server and infrastructure are equally responsible for influencing the speed of your site. You should need to host your site on a server that has memory or bandwidth limits for scaling during flash sales and seasonal promotions. Also, the projected traffic and peak user load to avoid crashes from a sudden spike in visitors.
3. Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN)
A CDN is a group of servers that are distributed across the world. The content is delivered to the user by the closest server to the user’s location. It gives better speed to the user. Since more ecommerce sites are going global, a CDN—or in the case of Shopify, dual CDNs—is a non-negotiable ingredient for platform performance.
4. Use Google Tag Manager
Collecting data for your ecommerce site is highly important as it will help you in taking business decisions and providing better customer experience to the users. But collecting a lot of data can also slow down your website. It is also a resource and time burden. Therefore, you must use a tag management system such as Google Tag Manager. It will condense all your tags in a single JS request.
5. Do testing for mobile speed
As the world is moving mobile, optimizing your site for mobile is equally important. While most of the shoppers buy through their mobiles websites are slower on mobile in comparison to the desktops. Henceforth, first, you should check the speed on the mobile and then make efforts to improve the speed. You can also use Google’s Test My Site Tool to know how site speed can boost your mobile conversion rates.
6. Use pop-ups limitedly
Using pop-ups on your site to give a quick view of the user is a common activity. They display a product—directly from a product listings page—rather than making you visit a product detail page. But if it is used in a vigorous manner it can also degrade the customer experience. Here’s how:
- It will add an extra step to the customer flow
- It can also be clicked unknowingly which is frustrating for the customer
- It can also be mistaken for a product page
And most importantly, it also slows down your site speed.
7. Work on Hero Images
Huge and attracting Hero Images at your Home Page are great for showing off your products. However, they can also reduce the speed of your site. The size and quality required for a hero slider to look good can increase load times—especially if you have four to five slides. If you really require the slider then follow best image compression techniques and UX practices else it would be great if you reduce the number of images or completely eliminate the slider.
8. Limit the 3rd Party Apps and Requests
If you have installed 20+ Shopify Apps on your Shopify Ecommerce store then probably you must not use all of them. Probably you have installed some of them for just trials and then forgot to remove them. Such apps continue to run in the background and impact the site speed. So you must check the apps which are not currently needed in your store and then remove them. Run page speed tests to check if there is any improvement.
Also read our other posts on speed up WooCommerce store and Magento speed optimization.
The Bottom Line
Users have a threshold of patience and pushing past that threshold results in a missed opportunity or failed conversion. Having your conversion page, whether it be for desktop, mobile or tablet users, optimized to load quicker than 4 seconds will dramatically increase the likelihood of a converted sale. We at Emizentech, the best ecommerce development company in India, are having expertise in developing ecommerce stores that are fully secure, fast, reliable, and full of features and functionalities. Let us know your idea and we will turn it into reality.