How Poor Website and App Performance Create “Digital Desertion”
Every second counts in today's online world. Today’s online shoppers expect a greater level of website and app performance than they did three years ago. Slow rendering time and digital disappointment will often drive consumers to a competitor’s offerings. Consumer expectations have become more demanding and patience with poor performance has diminished.
Apica conducted a survey with research agency 3Gem in an effort to better understand consumers and how they're interacting with websites and apps. We surveyed 2,500 web and app users in the U.S., U.K., and Sweden to understand their expectations regarding digital experiences as well as uncover what impacts their opinion of brands.
A key finding from the survey is that, on average, 83 percent of consumers in all markets are affected negatively by poor website or app performance. While around half of respondents say they lose patience and are somewhat negatively affected by page loading delays, over 35 percent of respondents say they abandon poor performing sites and apps quickly — often in 10 seconds or less.
Not Willing to Wait
Online shoppers want to view merchandise and place their orders as swiftly as possible. We can all relate to the new reality of sandwiching in time to buy groceries, last-minute birthday gifts or book a vacation while dashing to work, rushing in between meetings or trying to get a meal on the table. The survey showed that 40 percent of internet users won’t wait more than 10 seconds for a website to respond before navigating away. In fact, 11 percent of consumers won’t even give a website five seconds before moving onto another site.
Most respondents agree that slow website or app loading is a source of frustration. More than 35 percent agree that the impact is significant and leads them to abandon sites quickly. Users expect web pages and apps to load faster than they did three years ago — 75 percent of respondents have this expectation.
The Impact on Brand Loyalty
Poor web or app performance undermines people’s relationship with a brand and has a significant effect on customer loyalty. Overall, 60 percent of consumers would be less loyal towards a brand if they experience poor website or app performance.
And consumers expect uptime. In the U.S. and U.K., 10 percent of internet users would never go back to a brand for goods and services after an experience with poor web or app performance.
The Social Effect
The power of word-of-mouth, particularly via social media, has changed the brand table stakes as every poor experience can be broadcast with a single swipe. As a result, brands will be further impacted as consumers are likely to tell friends, colleagues and the connected universe about their experiences. The vast majority of consumers will mention poor web page or app performance to friends or colleagues, with 83 percent of respondents admitting they would either definitely or perhaps share a poor website or app experience. Tagging a brand and socializing a poor experience can significantly multiply the negative experience, with significant impact on the brand.
What Does This Mean for Online Retailers?
This survey affirms that consumers are more demanding and less forgiving when it comes to website and app performance, and retailers should heed the warning. With three-quarters of users expecting sites and apps to perform faster than they did three years ago, e-commerce businesses must recognize that they need to manage the peaks and troughs of online traffic and deliver consistently exceptional customer experiences.
The survey also highlights “Digital Desertion” syndrome: if users are disappointed by their digital experience, they often move over to competitors’ websites — leaving your online shopping cart abandoned for a site that provides a better digital experience. The revenue and brand impact is further impacted by the new reality that nearly four in 10 consumers indicate they would likely share a poor online experience with friends or colleagues.
There's nothing to dispute — negative digital experiences are likely to have an impact on brand reputation and loyalty.
In today’s e-commerce environment, the pressure is on retailers to continuously monitor and optimize their online performance to ensure they deliver a digital experience that meets users’ expectations. This means taking a proactive approach in the development lifecycle by conducting comprehensive performance testing aimed at ensuring the user experience in production and optimal monitoring capabilities to respond to issues in production before they impact the user experience. Don’t leave your revenue, brand and customer experience to chance.
Carmen Carey is the CEO of Apica, an application performance testing and monitoring company.