Industry best practices dictate that web pages should load within 3 seconds, but it takes the average retail page 9.5 seconds on mobile and 16.6 seconds on desktop to load completely, according to a survey from Retail Systems Research (RSR).
The study, sponsored by cloud platform Yottaa, Inc., evaluated and ranked 80 of the Internet Retailer Top 500 online merchants on their web performance and online shopper experience. The survey concluded that e-Commerce site performance overall is “disturbingly slow” and that retailers have a lot of room for improvement.
The number one ranked retailer in the study, Express Inc., earned a grade of only “D+”, receiving 59.5 out of a possible 86 points in measurements of desktop performance, mobile performance and shopper experience. The brand also boasted the highest shopper experience score (24.5 out of 29 points).
To evaluate each brand, RSR measured the ease of finding a product and noted what ancillary tools, such as product reviews, recommendations and chat features, were provided to make the shopping journey more satisfying. Based on the collected data:
- Shoes.com (formerly Shoebuy) and RueLaLa.com tied for second with scores of 56 respectively, claiming the highest overall mobile experience score and the highest desktop performance score;
- Sephora USA ranked fourth with a score of 55.5, helped by a 22.5 shopper experience score; and
- One Kings Lane finished last with a score of 15, scoring a 0 in shopper experience.
Jewelry Vertical Boasts Highest E-Commerce Performance Average
The study also evaluated retailers based on industry vertical. The apparel and accessories sector had seven of the top 10 scorers, as well as the lowest bounce rate average of all the tested retail categories. However, due to the number of apparel retailers tested, it was not the highest scoring industry on average:
Jewelry, led by Blue Nile Inc., ranked first with an average score of 46.7;
Apparel and accessories, led by Express Inc., finished second with an average score of 42.9; and
Specialty retail, which includes Disney Store USA LLC, finished last with an average score of 29.4.
As e-Commerce sites aim to meet consumer expectations, retailers find they must add more features and content to deliver a more engaging experience. But by doing so, they risk losing online shoppers due to poor web site performance. Although rich images and real-time responsiveness are critical, they significantly degrade web page load times. For example, pages with more than 50% image content experienced the slowest performance. This can easily result in inconsistent shopper experiences and higher bounce rates.