Retailers Mobile Performance Falls Short of User Expectations

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Craig Smith  |  Founder & CEO

The flood gates have opened on mobile sites and more retailers are using them than ever before. In the rush to get a good-looking responsive mobile website up though, many retailers are neglecting a key component in what users are looking for: fast load times.

According to a new report by Radware, it typically takes a mobile retailers site 4.8 seconds to load using the iPhone 5s, with only 15% of full-site pages loading in less than four seconds. These are surprising numbers when you consider that the average user expects the site to fully load in under three seconds.

Radware believes that there are two possible reasons why load times are so slow on retailer’s mobile sites: consumer demand for high-resolution images, and the inevitable increase in image size that comes with higher-resolution images. Radware also states that there is a huge lack of awareness around this issue as well, so many retailers don’t recognize that it’s even a problem.

Many marketers misunderstand what is causing the poor mobile performance, and are sending and receiving poor advice. For example, one representative from a well-known technology company told audience members at a conference that they employ the highest quality images in their responsive design sites so that the browser can scale the image to the correct size of the mobile device. This is untrue, and not how it works.

Radware cannot stress enough just how important load time is when it comes to mobile pages. According to their data, 50% of people will leave a site if it doesn’t load after three or four seconds. If a retailer’s mobile site takes longer than that, they are losing a huge chunk of possible revenue.

In a review of the top 100 ecommerce sites, it was found that 50% of the mobile pages weight is images, but 35% of those sites failed to compress their images, significantly impacting load times. It was also found that 81% of the sites reviewed automatically give users a mobile version of the homepage, but 20% of those sites don’t allow users to access a full version of their site. Only 8% gave tablet users a specially formatted tablet version of the site-which is an issue when tablet users are expecting a desktop-type experience rather than a paired down mobile experience.

With user’s expectations so high for mobile sites, this failure to meet it by retailers could have a significant impact on sales come the holiday season.

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