Speed wins, says Jenna Posner, vice president of digital at sneaker retailer SnipesUSA.

“There is such a direct correlation between speed and conversion,” Posner says. She speaks from firsthand experience after implementing technology from performance optimization vendor Yottaa.

After integrating the performance vendor into SnipesUSA.com’s aging ecommerce platform, the retail chain’s speed increased by 30% and its conversion rate doubled to about 2%, up from roughly 1%, she says.

“When you’re trying to prioritize and implement, it’s such an internal juggle between short-term and long-term wins,” Posner says. “If you can implement something that makes an impact immediately, those are the ones that get immediately rushed to the top. This is one of those things,” she says about improving site speed.

Posner is especially glad the retailer decided to invest in speed when it did at the end of 2019. Snipes is in the processes of switching ecommerce platforms onto the Salesforce Commerce Cloud from its current platform on Magento. The project is slated to go live in November 2020. So until then, the retailer had to decide what it wanted to invest in for its current platform and what projects will wait.

Jenna Posner, vice president of digital

Jenna Posner, vice president of digital

“We were caught between a rock and a hard place,” Posner says. “We were on Magento 1, which we know is near end-of-life, and we had this time period of having to determine if we were going to keep investing in our current [lackluster experience] versus investing in the future.”

But until that replatform went live—which many retailers know can take several months to more than a year to complete—Snipes needed to provide shoppers with an enjoyable shopping experience.

“We had closed the door on most iterations of the current environment, knowing we were going to throw it out, but speed was still very important,” Posner says. This is why Snipes chose Yottaa, as it is cloud-based and can integrate with SnipesUSA’s new platform as well, she says.

Most merchants know the drum Posner beats: A faster site leads to a better customer experience. 90% of shoppers will abandon a site if it doesn’t load in a reasonable time, according to a survey of 1,100 U.S.-based consumers conducted by Retail System Research (RSR) from April-May. And those shoppers that abandon the site may not return to make a purchase from that retailer again.

The survey finds that 57% of consumers will leave and buy from a similar retailer when they’re frustrated with slow ecommerce sites, 41% will buy from Amazon instead, 21% will never come back to the retailer, 14% will post on social media about their experience and a mere 11% will complain to the retailer. How fast is fast enough depends on the shopper, and the best route to speed up a site depends on the retailer. The challenge for retailers is not only choosing how to improve site speed, but also the ongoing maintenance that web performance demands. Retailers need to continually improve the shopping experience, complete with robust features, while also providing shoppers with a fast site.

How fast is fast enough?

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