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BizReport : Ecommerce archives : December 10, 2009

Brits prefer websites with fast load times

With 10% to 15% of total retail sales in Britain coming from Internet sales, and more than two-thirds of British shoppers planning to spend $360 of their Christmas shopping budget online, retailers can ill afford to get the basics, such as website load speed, wrong.

by Helen Leggatt

optier_logo.gifIn fact, for one in six British consumers, a slow-loading website was one of their biggest online shopping gripes, found business software developers, OptTier. Many don't give slow sites a second glance, instead moving on in search of a better shopping experience.

Websites that had "simple and reliable processes" ranked highly (41%) among respondents to OptTier's survey, followed by "quick delivery times" (20%) and "ease of use" (19%). All of these considerations came above "buying from a known brand" (15%), showing just what a high level of persuasiveness the performance of a website has over a consumer's familiarity with a product.

"Every year we talk about how online retail sales continue to be robust, but the number of etailers still not getting it right is staggering," said Colin Rowland, Senior VP EMEA Operations at OpTier. "If one retailer fails to deliver, shoppers will simply move on until they find one that can. It's the nature of supply and demand. In the online world, retailers can't afford to be caught with their pants down."

So, how can you improve the speed at which your website loads? Basic solutions include ensuring your web server has low ping values, adjusting the size of image files and caching.

You can also check how long your website takes to load by using AlertSite. In addition to giving landing page response times, the AlertSite scan will advise how long it takes a page to redirect and how long it takes for the first byte of a page to load once a user is connected to the server.

Tags: Britain, e-commerce, load speed, online retail, U.K., website performance, website speed

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