Slow Website Speed for 5 Ecommerce Giants: How Online Merchants Can Avoid Slow Page Speed

By Tinuiti Team

This is a guest post by Bryn Adler. Bryn is a marketing manager at Yottaa, a Boston- and Beijing-based company that provides all-in-one web optimization software that optimizes, protects, and monitors your website. Bryn can be reached at [email protected]

Today, 40% of visitors abandon a site that takes more than three seconds to load (Kissmetrics), and a one second increase in page load time can cause 11% fewer page views, a 16% decrease in customer satisfaction, and 7% fewer conversions (Mashable).

Below are the top 5 slowest major online retailers, based on 150 data samples tested across multiple continents to gauge performance on a global level.

1. Site Speed for 1-800 Flowers

Website speed of top online seller1-800-Flowers has the largest asset weight out of all the ecommerce giants tested, with a staggering 3 MB, putting them in the bottom 10% of all websites for site speed in that category.

This accounts for the slow time to interact on the front end, which on average takes about seven seconds, but in some locations in the U.S. and internationally took between 12 and 22 seconds.

Website page speed

Too many images (hosted both on their domain and requested from others) and a dependence on third-party assets like Google ads (which added three seconds alone in some cases), Facebook, and Twitter are the main cause of the slow site speed.

Site Speed Key Takeaway:

If you have a lot of heavy assets images, optimize them for website speed using a free image compressor like ImageAlpha or ImageOptim. By making images lighter, you are allowing your server to retrieve them more easily.

2. Site Speed for Nike

Site speed for Nike

It doesn’t bode well for a brand that makes shirts that say “FAST” that their website is one of the slowest in the game.

On average, they have a quick backend connection, with a small time to last byte. But they also fall victim to the perils of heavy assets slowing down the front end load time. 

Nike website speed

The main the culprits in Nike’s front end failings are numerous images, scripts from Twitter and Facebook widgets, and content served from other Nike domains, including the Nike store and their video hosting domain. In order to create a complex and fully integrated homepage, Nike has sacrificed that which is the essence of their brand: speed.

Site Speed Key Takeaway:

Remove any unnecessary or slow third-party assets on your website, or search out replacements for popular ones, such as social media sharing widgets. You can also optimize the code to load these scripts asynchronously to increase speed.

3.  StubHub Site Speed 

Website Speed for StubhubBecause it doesn’t employ a content delivery network (CDN), StubHub’s homepage waits a long time on the backend for the first byte to travel from the server to the visitor’s browser (geographic latency matters, folks).

Additionally, their pages tend to have heavy HTML files to deliver on the front end, and the two combine create a long wait for the user.

Stub Hub Page load time

StubHub’s website also typically starts to render six seconds before fully loading, meaning users see the progression of different images and page parts loading as they connect. This creates a hectic user experience and makes the page harder to interact with until it has finished rendering.

Site Speed Key Takeaway:

Use a CDN to serve up your website; it will minimize byte connection and speed up back end delivery time. This is a quick and easy way to improve backend performance so you can concentrate on improving the front end assets manually.  

4. Shutterfly Site Speed 

Shutterfly Site Speed While Shutterfly had an overall higher score than StubHub or Nike, it was one of the few that had page errors that inhibit the user experience.

In cases where the homepage did load properly, only the site navigation displayed at first for a few seconds.

Shutterfly page speed influence on website speed

Like many other big sites, Shutterfly depends heavily on scripts and images from third parties, leaving them with slow front end delivery of those images (isn’t it ironic?).

If you can’t tell by now how badly that impacts a site’s ability to sell, think of the importance of visuals to a printing service like Shutterfly, which relies heavily on their well-designed print templates and examples to convert customers.

Site Speed Key Takeaway:

Order your front end assets so that the most important visuals are downloaded and displayed first. This allows the visitor to interact with key parts of the homepage and worry less about static logos and third party components.

5. Site Speed for

Page speed for 1-800 Flowers follows the others with the same destructive combination: heavy assets (content complexity), slow backend connection, and long time to interact on the front end.

In particular, relies on Google Ads images and code to render, as well as some Flash and a combination of HTML, JavaScript, and CSS. These are all necessary to support the complex homepage design, which features no fewer than two “get a quote” and “find a dealer” widgets, a couple of carousels, ads, and a built-in buying guide.

Site Speed Key Takeaway:

Just like images, compress your Flash files to optimize website performance. You can also combine CSS and JavaScript files so that there are fewer individual files to fetch at a given time. For CSS, this is referred to as sprinting; the images are displayed in their proper places once fetched, but it allows for specific static images to load at the same time with only one HTTP request.

From Apple and Nike to your ecommerce website, speed is a top factor in attracting and retaining online customers. Be sure to stay tuned for our follow up post on how to increase your site speed with at look at the five fastest ecommerce giants online (they might surprise you).

Editors Note:

For other tips on how to improve conversion rates check out our conversion rate optimization roundtable.





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