Website performance matters

Consumers are more likely to frequent and buy goods from a retailer's website that gets high performance rankings, according to a new report that seeks to gauge whether consumers' online behavior would be affected if websites had performance grades.

Roughly 70 percent of U.S. shoppers said their browsing and online behavior would be affected by a performance rating, according to a survey by SOASTA, which recently launched a site performance index.

"Statistics like this are significant to online businesses, because they affect business performance," said Tom Lounibos, CEO of SOASTA. "For example, users are impatient and won't wait around if a site is slow. And if they leave, they won't transact and, more importantly, won't return. Website performance grades are clearly important to consumers; as a result, they are essential tools for businesses."

Millennials are the most reliant on the Internet and the most reactive to poorly performing sites. While 58 percent of millennial women said using a website for holiday shopping was important, 53 percent said they would skip online shopping sites with poor grades and 56 percent said they would do more shopping from sites with good grades.

Forty-six percent of American women say they most rely on website performance to do online holiday shopping.

When asked what aspects of website performance are most crucial, shoppers said that ease of navigation (79 percent) was the top consideration, and speed was a top consideration for 73 percent. Sixty-eight percent of Americans said reliability was a priority, and 62 percent said it was important that sites don't crash. Only 13 percent said personalized content was a top consideration.

Social media sites are considered to be among the top performing sites, with retailers much further down the list. Just 19 percent said consumer product websites performed well and only 17 percent ranked big-box store websites highly.

Only 20 percent of Americans said they would stop using poorly performing social networking sites.

Site perfomance, reliability and speed, will be a factor this holiday season as the number of shoppers who frequent retail websites on computers and mobile devices is expected to reach record numbers.

For more:
-See this SOASTA report

Related stories:
48% of online retailers confident holiday will outperform
Holiday sales to rise between 3.5% and 4%
83% of holiday shopping to begin before Cyber Monday
Digital to influence 64 cents of every retail dollar spent in physical stores
Sales to rise 2.4% this holiday season

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