A strong online presence is crucial for eCommerce businesses aiming to thrive in today’s digital world. Online shopping is on the rise, and it’s vital for online stores to meet customer needs promptly. The success of an online business hinges heavily on its website. When an eCommerce website isn’t performing well, it leads to reduced sales, lower customer satisfaction, and even harm to the brand’s reputation. It’s crucial to identify the underlying issues causing poor website performance to safeguard the future of your site.
In this article, we’ll explore the main reasons behind subpar website performance. You’ll gain a better understanding of how eCommerce sites operate, the specific challenges faced by retail websites, and strategies to optimize your website to meet your business objectives.
The Main Challenge in the eCommerce Industry
Before we delve into the top five reasons for poor website performance, let’s first address the primary challenge in the eCommerce industry. Understanding why eCommerce websites are crucial in today’s market and why immediate action is required when they underperform is vital for business owners.
One significant challenge in the eCommerce realm is the ever-growing competition. There are nearly 24 million eCommerce websites worldwide, and this number continues to expand by 23% each year. This escalating competition makes it increasingly difficult to stand out, attract new customers, and foster customer loyalty. The fierce competition can also lead to higher customer acquisition costs, price wars, and reduced return on investment, ultimately resulting in a 22% failure rate among eCommerce businesses within their first year.
Two other key challenges in the eCommerce industry are ensuring a seamless, secure, and hassle-free customer experience and adapting quickly to evolving market trends and technologies. Customer expectations change rapidly, and technology advancements, such as new payment options and AI-powered chatbots, continually emerge. Staying competitive and relevant requires online stores to incorporate these changes.
Understanding what customers expect from an eCommerce website is pivotal for success. To overcome these challenges, you should focus on strategy, problem-solving, and optimizing technical aspects of your website to deliver a seamless user experience, build trust, and foster customer loyalty.
Top 5 Reasons for Poor eCommerce Website Performance
- Slow Loading Website
Speed is paramount in the online world. Users demand quick results, and a website’s loading speed is critical. Research by Portent indicates that the first five seconds of a page’s loading time have the most significant impact on eCommerce conversion rates. Nearly 70% of consumers admit that page load speed influences their willingness to buy from an online store. Both desktop and mobile websites must be fast and responsive. The highest eCommerce conversion rates occur on websites with load times of 0-2 seconds.
Common causes of slow page load times include the location and reliability of your hosting provider, the use of shared servers and cheap server hardware, issues with site apps and plugins, an excess of large on-page images and videos, and embedded external resources. To ensure fast loading times, it’s crucial to choose a reliable hosting provider, optimize images and videos, implement lazy loading and caching, and reduce the use of embedded external resources.
Conduct proper research to select a hosting provider that aligns with your website’s needs. Prioritize dedicated servers and high-quality server hardware. Thoroughly vet the reliability and compatibility of site apps and plugins before installation. Limit on-page media size and employ Content Delivery Networks (CDNs). Utilize online tools like PageSpeed Insights and GTmatrix for performance evaluation.
- Poor Website Design
Website design encompasses more than just aesthetics; it includes UX design and UI factors. A study by Top Design Firms found that 42% of users will leave a website if it doesn’t function properly. Thus, it’s essential to understand how poor website design affects eCommerce sites.
Bad website design impacts eCommerce performance through unresponsiveness to mobile devices, chaotic architecture and navigation, inconsistent branding or design, cluttered layouts, and a lack of trust signals.
To improve website design, ensure mobile responsiveness, create clear and organized navigation, maintain consistent branding, display trust signals, and implement industry-specific features. Regularly analyze user behavior using tools like Google Analytics and Google’s Mobile-Friendly test to identify areas for improvement.
- Outdated and Incomplete Product Pages
Product pages are critical for driving eCommerce sales. Complete and informative product pages are essential for success. In fact, 98% of online shoppers only buy when product page information is complete or relevant to their needs.
Outdated or incomplete product pages lead to decreased conversion rates, lower search engine rankings, decreased credibility, and poor user experience. To optimize product pages, write compelling descriptions, use high-quality images, provide clear pricing and shopping information, display social proof, and implement industry-specific features.
Regularly update content, include social sharing buttons, add product recommendations, and maintain an eCommerce blog to educate and promote your business.
- Long and Confusing Checkout Process
The checkout process is the final step in online shopping and can significantly impact user experience, cart abandonment rates, and sales. The average cart abandonment rate in 2021 was a staggering 69.82%.
Factors that complicate the checkout process include mandatory account creation, lengthy and irrelevant checkout forms, hidden costs, unclear calls to action, restrictive payment options, and extended shipping times. To streamline the checkout experience, offer guest checkout options, implement one-page checkout processes, disclose all costs upfront, provide multiple payment and shipping options, and clarify return and refund policies. Display trust badges on the checkout page.
Monitor Google Analytics to identify checkout bottlenecks and optimize the process accordingly.
- Lack of Customer Service
In a competitive market, eCommerce businesses seldom get second chances. After a negative digital experience, 51% of consumers will avoid a company, and 44% will switch to competitors. Furthermore, customers often share their experiences, both positive and negative, with others.
Lack of customer service affects eCommerce businesses through decreased sales, damaged brand reputation, reduced customer loyalty, and increased costs associated with returns, complaints, and lost sales.
To enhance the customer journey and increase customer lifetime, offer multiple communication channels, provide prompt solutions, encourage user feedback, invest in customer service training, personalize interactions, and implement incentive strategies.
Remember, offering a seamless customer experience and remaining competitive is crucial in today’s eCommerce landscape.
By addressing these top five reasons for underperforming eCommerce websites, you can equip yourself with the knowledge needed to improve your website’s performance and enhance customer lifetime value. Continuously analyze key performance indicators and metrics to ensure the efficient operation of your online business. If you observe changes in organic traffic, user behavior, cart abandonment, or sales, take immediate action. We are here to assist you in enhancing your eCommerce solution. For more insights on online businesses, please explore our blog. Contact us today, and let’s elevate your online business to the next level.