Report: 57% Of Shoppers Head Elsewhere If Site Is Loading Slowly

According to a survey conducted by Retail Systems Research, the majority of shoppers say they would leave a website if they think the pages are taking too long to load, suggesting that retailers whose ecommerce stores are slow to load are likely to lose business, with frustrated customers turning to their competitors.

The survey, which interviewed 1,100 consumers living in the US, found that 90% of online shoppers abandon a site if they feel it is taking too long to load. 57% said that this would cause them to leave the site, and buy from a similar retailer instead. A slow site appeared to be a sure way to lose customers in the long term, with the survey finding that 21% would never come back to the same online retailer, while 14% would write about their negative experience on social media, and 11% would take up a complaint with the retailer or brand in question.

This comes at a time that ecommerce sales have become a vital source of revenue for retailers, with many having faced store closures and loss of income during COVID-19.

According to Steve Rowen, the Managing Director at Retail System Research, “Based on the findings from our new report, retailers that cannot rely on their online offerings’ ability to serve as their primary face to the consumers now face the very serious chance of extinction”.

The topic of mobile commerce also featured in the survey, with 32% saying that they now find that purchases from retailers are easy to complete on mobile devices, while 22% said that they still prefer to make online purchases via their desktop. Some will start the process on mobile, and then complete the actual order on a desktop. 14% said that they do this because they feel it is more secure, with a further 14% saying that it’s down to the speed and convenience of ordering via desktop.

The company found that the Ascena Retail Group had the fastest loading mobile site, with L Brands, Carter’s Inc and Ralph Lauren all featuring in the top 10 of sites they tested.

Subscription Services Dominate In UK

Barclaycard has found that the UK can now be considered a ‘Subscription Society’, with subscription-based services becoming exceedingly popular during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The company found that more than 20% of UK retailers now offer a subscription service. In the UK, these services have seen rapid growth during the pandemic, rising by 39.4% during the month of July.

Subscription-based services in a variety of fields have become increasingly popular among consumers, with streaming services, fashion brands, and food companies frequently basing their sales around a monthly or yearly subscription payment. In Britain, the average person currently spends £552 on subscriptions annually.

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Retailers are starting to take notice of this growing trend, as 10% of them launched their first-ever subscription model between March and June. 80% of retailers believe that lockdown has lead to the rise in popularity of paying with a subscription, and 75% say these services offer a more steady, predictable source of income.

Kirsty Morris, managing director for account development at Barclaycard, remarked: “Subscription services provide an exciting opportunity to engage consumers with products and services at home, whether that’s digital content or streaming services, meal kits, or more personalised offerings such as bespoke alcohol kits or on-demand exercise classes.

Instagram Key For Shoppers During Lockdown

Social Media

A survey by Bazaarvoice’s Influenster has shown that 67% of consumers have spent more time on Instagram than ever before since the start of the pandemic. The survey also discovered that the most popular types of content were from influencers (46%) followed closely by shopping content (39%).

While many people are shopping less frequently during the pandemic, it seems that many social media users were doing the opposite. 25% of the people interviewed said that they prefer shopping on social media compared to other mediums, and of that 25%, 92% do their shopping on Instagram. The other main social media companies trailed behind the photo-sharing app, with Facebook at 39%, YouTube at 22% and TikTok at 20%.

Suzin Wold, SVP of marketing at Bazaarvoice said “The rising popularity of Instagram, as consumers search for influencer and shopping content, coupled with the increased use of new platforms like TikTok, present a key opportunity for retailers to use consumer-generated content. By focusing on their community, retail brands can provide relevant, high-quality content that engages consumers on the platforms that matter to them most. This empathetic approach is also crucial for retailers to build trust.”

Instagram recently announced that it has added a new feature to the platform, where users can scan QR codes to be taken to a retailer’s Instagram profile. The code can be scanned from any third-party camera app, which is already available on any smartphone with a camera. This is the latest feature that Instagram has announced regarding ecommerce on the platform. In July, it launched the Shop Feature, where users can browse through items, receive personalized recommendations, and purchase products that they like.