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Online Shopping Is A Four-Second Rodeo

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Online retailers, you have four seconds to get your site loaded before a would-be customer scoots off to a competitor. Add that to what we already know about the time it takes to make a judgment once a page is loaded, and the window of opportunity becomes narrower.

Akamai recently commissioned a report though Jupiter Research to determine the tolerance levels of the online consumers. The results showed that four seconds was the maximum length of time the average customer will wait for a Webpage to load.

Poor site performance in general was ranked just behind high prices and shipping costs as the biggest cause of customer dissatisfaction. Four seconds is significantly longer than the time it takes a visitor to make a visual judgment of the Webpage once it is loaded. A blink, or one twentieth of a second, is all the time it takes to do that.

Surfers take these first impressions quite seriously. The report also found that a third of shoppers with a bad experience said they’d never come back. Three-fourths said it was likely that they’d never come back. Nearly a third said they’d tell their friends.

“The critical takeaway from this research is that online shoppers not only demand quality site performance, they expect it,” said Brad Rinklin, vice president of marketing at Akamai. “Four seconds is the new benchmark by which a retail site will be judged, which leaves little room for error for retailers to maintain a loyal online customer base.

Half of shoppers with more than two years online shopping experience, or spend more than $1,500 annually, said page-load time was a top priority. Over half of them (55%) demand a rapid checkout process.

Over two-thirds agreed that they were more likely to return to a site that is easily navigated and has an easy log-in and checkout process.

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