Take off your retailer hat for a moment. As a consumer yourself, you’ve likely browsed an e-commerce website only to be stuck on a slow-loading page. It’s a frustrating experience. As the seconds go by, you wonder if you need to hit the "back" button, refresh the page, or if your time would be better spent searching for that product elsewhere instead of troubleshooting.
Now back to your perspective as a retailer. That unfortunate user experience on your site translates to high bounce rates, lost sales, and a reduction in customer retention. In fact, a one-second delay in page load time can lead to a drop in conversion of 7 percent or more.
That’s why it’s so important for retailers to not only deliver engaging images and videos, but to also ensure that web pages are speedy and responsive. After all, fast-loading visual stories are what captivate audiences and drive extraordinary digital shopping experiences.
Let’s explore the key reasons for optimizing media quality and web performance, and how it can help boost your overall bottom line.
Improve Brand Perception and Loyalty
A study shows that users who experience a slow e-commerce site used three times more negative adjectives to describe the brand than those who visited a faster site. Their frustration from slow-loading pages undermined the overall brand health, with page delays creating negative associations about the company itself.
People accrue a negative brand perception according to their web experiences, which is why retailers must take the necessary steps to address this significant pain point while still delivering visually captivating images and videos. Prioritizing web performance is key to creating a great shopping experience that will increase customer retention and loyalty.
Evaluate Page Experience for Better SEO Ranking
Developers and marketers are buzzing with anticipation for Google’s launch of Core Web Vitals ranking signals in May 2021. As with any algorithm change from Google, these page experience factors will significantly affect e-commerce retailers, since load time, interactivity and visual stability will inform a search engine optimization ranking.
Retailers that focus on these key metrics — Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), First Input Delay (FID), and Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) — will improve the quality of the user experience while bettering their scores from Google, ensuring higher search traffic and greater visibility. It’s a win-win that will help retailers identify which areas of a site require modifications so that they score higher while also delivering a user-centric experience.
Deliver Optimized Media Quality for Each User
Retailers must account for where, when and how each user loads their website. This means that whether a user is on a high-speed Wi-Fi desktop in the U.S. or a slow 3G mobile device in Europe, the site must deliver file formats in the optimal resolution or pixel density for each specific circumstance.
This is a tall order to do manually, which is why artificial intelligence (AI) can be used to easily adapt and optimize media for all web speeds, devices and browsers. By taking advantage of automation, retailers can save valuable time and bandwidth delivering responsive media in the right resolution or pixel density. That way, every user is served the best digital experience, every time they visit.
Web Performance Matters for Online Retailers
Page delays lead to negative outcomes that significantly impact the bottom line. This will be especially true as more consumers shop online and form opinions about brands based on their website experience.
All in all, retailers have a tremendous opportunity to focus on their media quality and web performance. In doing so, they will ensure their ability to deliver an engaging and exceptional online shopping experience.
Nathan Kelley is managing director, media optimizer, Cloudinary, a cloud-based image and video management services provider.
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