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Shopping sites suffer load speed slowdown

06 September 2016 - 10:21 by Graham Miller

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In the past 12 months the speed with which web pages load has increased by seven per cent, according to the latest figures from Dynatrace. This poses a serious problem for retailers who offer safe shopping online, since even fractional differences in load speed can determine whether or not a visitor is willing to commit to making a purchase.

The study found that, on average, a consumer will be willing to spend up to three seconds waiting for a page to load before they decide to head elsewhere. So the window in which sites have to impress visitors is shrinking and making a good first impression with snappy load speeds is more important than ever.

Analysts point to a number of culprits in the increase of load speeds, with the integration of more functions and social media elements blamed.

In particular, it is now seen as necessary for sites to offer embedded elements that support services like Facebook and Twitter. This means that pages need to pull together elements from multiple servers dotted across disparate locations, bogging down the loading process and proving particularly problematic in large countries, where great distances separate web users.

For each additional half a second that visitors have to wait for a page to load, retailers can see their sales made online decline by a tenth. And so it is important for firms to pay close attention to site performance and trim the fat where necessary.

The growing number of people who browse the web via mobile devices over wireless connections could also be seen as a contributing factor in this instance. Sites which are optimised for smartphone and tablet users are now seen as essential, even if a surprising number of major retailers and brands have not fully embraced this shift in behaviour.