Every year the continued growth of the e-commerce market indicates online businesses are just tapping into its still-emerging potential. Last year, online shoppers spent $1.7 billion on Thanksgiving Day alone according to Adobe Systems Inc.’s Adobe Digital Index data. Custora, a marketing platform vendor, that monitors more than 200 US web retailers, reported that US e-commerce revenue was up 12.1% during the 2015 holiday season over holiday 2014, in line with the trend of double digit growth over the past five years.
Despite its potential, e-commerce isn’t without its unique concerns. For web operators slow-loading websites, non-intuitive functionality, and security issues are problems that can erode competitive advantage, and that need to be addressed.
For insights into these problems, the Incapsula team at Imperva recently commissioned a study based on two surveys to gauge the challenges faced by online shoppers and website operators. You can see how the data breaks down in greater detail in the e-commerce study, “How 5 Seconds Can Make a Better E-Commerce Site”
Even though a majority of shoppers use their computers to purchase, our data confirms that mobile devices (smartphones and tablets) are becoming more important in the exploration phase of online shopping. More than 50% of online shoppers use multiple devices while shopping. However, functionality and performance vary greatly from one platform to another, often becoming a barrier to purchase. By understanding clients’ habits, online businesses can create a seamless user experience to help shoppers complete their purchase.
Consumer survey fact: More than 50% of online shoppers use multiple devices while shopping.
Speed and performance
Our surveys also tell us that slow page-loading times will compel consumers to abandon a website and never return. Visitors will only stick around for five seconds (or less) while they wait for a page to load completely, and 27 percent will wait only three seconds. In fact, the data shows that shoppers value website speed over everything else – including security.
Consumer survey fact: 62% of online shoppers will wait 5 seconds or less for a page to load before they leave.
The most important thing to consumers, however, is the ability to swiftly and intuitively navigate a website. Nearly half of all visitors will abandon a site if they have a poor user experience. The most troubling statistic of all? Thirteen percent of shoppers will leave and never return to a website that doesn’t run smoothly.
Becoming e-commerce ready
For any business with a substantial stake in e-commerce, mobile and performance are important factors. Any obstacle in a website experience can send prospective buyers to an alternate site to complete their purchase.
The good news is that 84 percent of website operators know this and are dedicated to making site improvements over the next 24 months.
The bad news? Only 53 percent are familiar with the benefits of a CDN and only 43 percent know load balancing can help availability and improve performance.
One thing is clear: consumers are enthusiastic about online shopping. A number of retail studies have shown that there was a sharp spike in online activity this past holiday season. But online vendors are not exempt from providing good customer service. E-commerce companies can invest in optimizing their sites if they want to attract (and keep) shoppers.
You’ll also find in the e-commerce study key insights on the importance of mobile compatibility, how improved page load times affect customer retention and brand loyalty, and how conversions map back to bandwidth availability, plus a whole range of best practices and benchmarks.
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