Why Image Load Time Matters & 3 Things You Can Do About It

July 31, 2013

Digital Marketing ChannelAdvisor By ChannelAdvisor

Successful online retailers must be obsessed with their
appearance.

Let me explain. In the multi-device, screen-centric world of
online shopping, where research is visual and decisions are made in seconds, visual
appeal is an indispensible component of success. To that end, many retailers
focus on improving website content: optimising descriptions and titles, and
including features like related products and reviews. Many more also focus on driving
shoppers to the website: building out keyword ads and advertising products
through comparison shopping programs.

While we’re not knocking the importance of creating A+ data
and driving traffic, equally important is making
sure traffic converts
. Spikes in visitors aren’t so exciting when you
realise sales haven’t budged. It’s the online retailer’s version of awkward
silence at a dinner party.

If you’re seeing less than typical conversion rates, it’s
time to get to the root of the issue
.

The often neglected component of optimised website images can have a critical impact on the consumer’s
final decision to purchase your products. What’s more, what seems like a
fractional difference in load speed can actually have a big impact on your
bottom line.

Did you know that a
1-second delay in your page load time could result in a 7%  drop in conversion rates? A study
conducted by the Aberdeen Group, summarized here by Strangeloop
shows just that. Similar studies
have also been conducted by other Internet giants including Amazon,
Walmart,
and Google.

Time Is Money
If we consider a retailer that generates
$1 million a month, a 7% reduction in orders caused by a 1-second delay in load
times could equal $840k a year.

To make sure you’re not ‘that’ retailer, here are three things
you can do to improve your page load times related to your website’s images
and interactive zoom capabilities.

1. Scale
Images Properly

Manage your website’s image sizes to make
sure browsers aren’t scaling down large images unnecessarily to serve
double-duty as thumbnails. Load times lag when images are re-sized in the web
browser leading to long load times on category pages.

2. Strike a
Balance Between High-Quality and Compression

Make sure your image settings strike a good
balance between showing high-quality display and adequate file compression. JPG
files can often be compressed without losing visual appeal; only details not
easily visible to the human eye are omitted.

3. utilise a
Content Delivery Network

A content delivery network (CDN) provides
content rapidly, and is used to cache and serve images to end users. Many
retailers make use of CDNs to ensure their site loads quickly even during
surges in shopper traffic. Without a CDN, page load times can slow down during
peak shopping times – exactly when you don’t want to experience lags!

Making these adjustments can be the difference between high
volumes of traffic and high volumes of conversions. ChannelAdvisor’s Rich Media
solution can address all these concerns and more, offering interactive features
including product zoom, 720º rotation and product video capabilities. Finally,
all of this comes in a best-in-class mobile and tablet experience, where speed has
become an even greater concern.

Whether you’re using a Rich
Media provider
or working with your e-commerce platform’s provided tools,
make sure image load times are positively affecting your bottom line!

Blog post by David Monterroso, Senior Solution Consultant at ChannelAdvisor