How to Improve Page Speed to Drive Ecommerce Growth

Daphne Saropoulou

October 11, 2021

In today’s attention economy and competitive Ecommerce landscape, visibility is key. With a myriad of sites catering to consumers within your niche, it is becoming increasingly challenging for websites to stand out in search results and earn high levels of organic traffic. Google determines the ranking position of a website by considering various aspects of the site’s health and usability; one of these critical website elements is non-other than page speed.

In this article, we’ll cover the fundamentals of page speed, the importance of this metric, and break down key actions that help improve page load time.

What is Page Speed & The Industry Benchmark?

Page speed is the measurement of how quickly content and images on your page load. This metric can also be referred to as ‘time to first byte’, the amount of time it takes for your browser to be given the first byte of information from the webserver.

Even though there is no official threshold, the common suggestion is for your site to load in less than three seconds. This benchmark is derived from a Google study stating that 53% of mobile visitors leave a page that takes more than three seconds to load.

What is Page Speed & The Industry Benchmark?

Why is Page Speed Important?

Having a fast page loading time is crucial in achieving the optimum performance of your site for several notable reasons.

1. Faster Speed Leads to Better UX & More Return Users

Consumers are becoming more time-sensitive day-by-day, and if a site’s pages are taking too long to load, site users will bounce onto another website that offers a better user experience. When users enjoy their experience on your website, they are more likely to return and browse your site on other occasions.

2. Page Speed Directly Impacts Conversions

Your site’s page speed affects all your other digital marketing initiatives, including paid search, email and social marketing. The faster your site’s pages load, the longer users will stay on your site, increasing the likelihood of them converting into customers. A fast page loading speed will facilitate users’ journey on the site and provide an overall better user experience, which can also increase the number of return customers. Therefore, quick page loading is vital in lifting the site’s conversion rate and achieving higher revenue across channels.

3. Page Speed is a Ranking Factor

Google recently completed the rollout of its new algorithmic update, the Page Experience signal. This new feature, which can be found on Google Search Console, puts further emphasis on how users perceive the experience of interacting with a website’s pages. The website elements this update considers include mobile-friendliness, non-intrusive interstitials (e.g., pop up ads) and Google’s Core Web Vitals, which are outlined below:

 Why is Page Speed Important?

Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)

This measures when the largest content element in a web page’s visible area (viewport) becomes present. The recommended score for LCP is for the server to take less than 4 seconds to render the largest visible element in the viewport.

Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)

Another Core Web Vital is CLS, which is the measurement of the instability of content. This metric looks at how much visible content shifted in the viewport as well as the distance the elements impacted were moved. Google outlines that for the optimum user experience, sites should strive to have a CLS score of 0.1 or less.

First Input Delay (FID)

The last Core Web Vital is First Input Delay. This metric captures a user’s first impression of a site’s interactivity and responsiveness. It measures the time from when a user first interacts with a page to the time when the browser responds to that interaction. In order to provide a good user experience, website pages should have an FID of less than 100 milliseconds.

Core Web Vitals

How to Check Your Site’s Page Speed

Now that we have broken down the fundamental set of Core Web Vitals used to determine a site’s page speed, where should you start?

First, it is essential to diagnose what issues are affecting your website to understand whether you should focus your efforts on images, page elements, text, coding, or all of the above.

Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool and GT Metrix are both free online tools that provide you with your page speed score as well as issues that are increasing the page’s load time and solutions in resolving these problems. For instance, these tools highlight pages where image sizes are too large or there is unused JavaScript code that should be removed.

How to Fix Page Speed Issues

While different websites might have varying issues slowing down page load time, below, we will cover tips for improving page speed issues applicable to most websites. These solutions will eliminate issues that are impacting your site’s LCP, CLS and FID scores and, of course, your overarching PageSpeed Insights score.

How to Fix Page Speed Issues

1. Minify CSS, JavaScript, and HTML

Minifying your code involves removing unnecessary elements such as spaces, commas, line breaks, and other unnecessary characters or formatting. This action will help drastically improve your page speed. Browsers don’t need these elements to render and execute a page. Therefore, removing them won’t negatively affect the information presented to the user on the page. Google-recommended tools to perform this minification proccess include CSSNano, csso (for CC) and UglifyJS (for Javascript).

2. Optimise Images & Media Files

Large images are a big culprit in causing slow loading speed. Thankfully, fixing and optimising the size of your site’s images is very simple with the help of an image compression tool. For Shopify websites, Crush.pics is a great tool to use as it removes non-visible information from the image and applies high-efficiency compression techniques, which can save 50% or more of image size. There are similar tools for WordPress sites such as Smush.

3. Reduce Redirects

Each time a page redirects to another page, your visitor faces additional time waiting for the HTTP request-response cycle to complete. We recommend restricting your use of redirects to only the cases where it is necessary from a technical standpoint, such as when you want to direct traffic to a temporary page to resolve issues with the original page.

4. Leverage Browser Caching

Another great way to reduce page load time is by leveraging browser caching. This process temporarily stores the previously loaded resources on your site so that they don’t have to reload with every single visit. When a website visitor navigates to a new page on your site, this data will be already downloaded onto users’ devices instead of having to load again (e.g., logos, navigation menu, footers).

5. Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN)

Lastly, using a CDN is an important action to improve the loading of large websites. What is a CDN you might ask? It is a geographically distributed group of servers that stores content including HTML pages, images, videos, JavaScript and CSS files. These networks of servers distribute the load of delivering content as copies of your site are stored at multiple, geographically diverse data centers. When visitors from a particular country navigate onto a website, the content of the site is retrieved from the closest server instead, which speeds up time. These are examples of recommended CDNs: Cloudfare, StackPath and KeyCDN.

Implementing the above changes to technical and visual elements of your site will help eliminate issues that are impacting page speed and, thus your overall site’s performance. As users’ experience on the site is affected by slow loading and Google now uses this metric as a ranking factor impacting SERP visibility, scoring well on the PageSpeed Insights test should be a top priority for site owners.

Find out more about Pattern’s SEO services and how we can assist you in improving your site’s page speed, contact us now.

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Sept 20, 2022

Global Ecommerce Weekly News: 20th September 2022

Get up to date with this week's ecommerce headlines from around the globe. --- Amazon News --- Amazon to raise pay and add extra work benefits for delivery drivers Following the rise in fuel prices and protests by Amazon workers, the ecommerce giant is raising its delivery drivers’ pay and adding more work benefits. Amazon has mentioned that it will be investing $450 million into rate increases along with an education program and a Delivery Service Partners program. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/14/amazon-to-raise-delivery-drivers-pay-and-add-more-work-benefits/) Amazon announces it will give away shipping software to merchants at no cost Amazon has recently announced that it will be giving ecommerce merchants free software to manage shopper orders on and off its platform as it extends its reach. The ecommerce giant will be ending monthly costs for sellers using Veeqo, a shipping software it recently acquired and instead offer to them a new, free shipping software. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/16/amazon-to-give-away-shipping-software-to-merchants/) --- Other Marketplace News --- Walmart unveils new virtual fitting rooms In an effort to drive clothing sales, Walmart has launched virtual fitting rooms while competitors reduce spending amid the cost of living crisis. The virtual try-on tool can be used by Walmart customers to virtually measure the clothing items and see how the products would look on them. Shoppers will now be able to see how over 270,000 clothing items on Walmart’s ecommerce site would look on their bodies. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/15/walmart-launches-virtual-fitting-rooms-to-drive-clothing-sales/?utmsource=Retail+Gazette+Subscribers&utmcampaign=2da7f0f8f8-EMAILCAMPAIGN202209150742&utmmedium=email&utmterm=0d23e2768b6-2da7f0f8f8-61040615) THG slashes sales and profit expectations The Hut Group has slashed its forecasts for 2022 as rising interest rates, inflation and energy costs take a toll on consumers. Previously, THG estimated its sales growth to be between 22-25% but after a recent evaluation, has lowered this prediction to between 10-15%. Initial predictions did not take into account the negative effects of ceasing sales in Russia and Ukraine along with the impact that the cost-of-living has had on consumer spending. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/15/thg-slashes-forecast-as-cost-of-living-crisis-hits-consumers-wallets/) --- Other Ecommerce News --- DHL and Post Office team up to provide click and collect services Through a partnership between delivery company, DHL and Post Office, a new click and collect service is to be tested at Post Offices before rolling out to over 1000 branches across the UK. Online shoppers will now have the option of choosing their local Post Office as a collection point, and DHL will fulfil the delivery aspect, opening up networks for both parties. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/14/post-office-partners-with-dhl-express-to-provide-click-and-collect-services/) US consumer watchdog plans to further regulate the BNPL sector The US Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has raised concerns regarding the collection of consumer data and the fast-growing nature of the BNPL sector, which includes companies such as Affirm and Klarna. The CFPB is worried that these companies could be negatively impacting consumers’ financial health and aims to put better regulations in place to ensure consumers are safe and empowered. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/16/us-consumer-watchdog-to-start-regulating-bnpl-sector/) Japanese ecommerce market estimated to grow by 6.9% in 2022 The ecommerce market in Japan, largely dominated by domestic online retailers including Reakuten and Mercari, is set to reach $194.3 billion USD in 2022, after seeing an annual compound growth rate of 5.2% between 2018 and 2021. This makes Japan the fourth leading ecommerce market globally, following China, the US, and the UK. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/13/japan-ecommerce-market-to-grow-by-6-9-in-2022/) Ecommerce brands are spending more on TikTok ads TikTok may soon be surpassing Facebook and Google as the most lucrative advertising channel, with ecommerce brands spending 60% more on TikTok ads in Q2. Facebook is still ahead as the top choice for ecommerce advertisers but only grew by 5.6% from Q1, while Google grew 20.5% in Q2, and Snap declined 10.8% in Q2. [Read more on SearchEngineLand](https://searchengineland.com/ecommerce-brands-spent-60-more-on-tiktok-ads-in-q2-387876)
Sept 20, 2022

4 Ecommerce Consultant Must-Haves

Entering the ecommerce landscape is a huge undertaking for any brand—it usually requires a large investment in resources and expertise to really be successful. Any brand can quickly get in over their heads trying to navigate the nuances of SEO, fulfillment and logistics, distribution control, listing optimization, and meeting the numerous other requirements and administrative tasks to show up well on marketplaces. 

Unfortunately, because it’s so easy for third party, gray market, and unauthorized sellers to obtain and sell products online, many brands find themselves pressured to execute an ecommerce plan without the right resources to succeed on marketplaces and their other channels.

So, for brands looking to enter the ecommerce space or improve their current and future performance, it makes sense to partner with an ecommerce consultant.

Pattern’s global presence and proven success with hundreds of brands has allowed us to develop highly effective ecommerce consulting services. We can guide your brand to navigate issues both large and small in marketplaces worldwide. To maximize your ecommerce efforts, you’ll need to understand what an ecommerce consultant does and how to select one who drives the right value for your brand and products. 

What is an Ecommerce Consultant?

An ecommerce consultant is a specialist in the ecommerce space who can give you personalized guidance on how to market your products and grow their presence on digital marketplaces.

An ecommerce consultant should be able to analyze your brand, audience, category, opportunity, and current roadblocks and help you understand how to utilize your resources (or what resources are missing) to be most effective in capturing your opportunities in the ecommerce space.

Not sure how to evaluate a consultant? Here are 4 key attributes to look for as you make your choice.

1. Brand Obsession/Specialization/Passion

At Pattern, we prioritize brand obsession for a reason—we know that a brand-centered mindset makes a crucial difference in the outcomes and results our partners achieve. So in our experience, when you begin your search for an ecommerce consultant, it’s important to look for a partner who is specialized in ecommerce, invested in the product, and passionate about helping brands build and improve their strategies. Typically, this means finding someone that consults exclusively for ecommerce marketplaces, rather than choosing a consultant who offers many different services. 

2. Proven Results

It’s also important to avoid choosing a consulting partner who can’t deliver the right experience for your brand. The best indication of whether your potential consultant can do that is to review their history, data, and results with other brands. Ask if they’ve helped others in your selling category, if they’ve solved specific issues your brand is facing, and why they feel you are a good fit. The key is to leave the conversation feeling confident that you understand your consultants’ capabilities and whether or not they match up with your needs.

3. Wide Range of Marketplace Expertise

It’s best to pick a consultant who knows how to guide a brand onto and through multiple marketplaces worldwide. You’ll want to take a look at your long-term strategy and think about the regions and platforms you’re currently on and where you might want to take your brand in the future. If your consultant is truly great at what they do, they’ll be able to help you perform well enough with your current product roadmap that it’ll be a no-brainer to expand your presence at the right time.

4. Network of Resources

The most effective partnership with an ecommerce consultant will be able to give you both recommendations and point you to solutions for making those changes in your planning, processes, and execution. Your time and money is valuable, so you want to make sure that you’re spending it as efficiently as possible as you follow your consultant’s advice. So, before you commit to an ecommerce consultant, ask about the resources and concrete solutions they typically recommend to the brands they work with.

Achieve Your Ecommerce Goals With Pattern

Finding an ecommerce consultant that checks the boxes can be a difficult task. At Pattern, our entire focus and drive centers around giving brands the tools and resources they need to succeed on domestic and international ecommerce marketplaces. 

With over 100 global ecommerce consultants across 10 global offices, we have the right tools to partner with brands across the world to achieve better ecommerce success. We give specialized advice, then make sure our partners have all the adequate SEO, social media, CRM, Amazon multi-channel fulfillment services, and ecommerce outsourcing services they need.

Interested in ecommerce consulting services? Set up a call here to learn what Pattern can do for your brand on global marketplaces.

Sept 15, 2022

The 3 Tmall Metrics That Every Brand Needs to Know

If you’re interested in expanding your brand internationally, you’re probably familiar with Tmall. Tmall is Asia-Pacific’s (APAC) largest marketplace, and indisputably the biggest ecommerce powerhouse in the world. It represents a huge opportunity for many brands, but entering the space is also a big challenge to take on.

At Pattern, we recommend brands looking to enter international markets should first focus on dialing in their domestic presence. Once you’re satisfied that your brand is well-represented and optimized locally, you’re ready to think about tackling new regions, like APAC, and launching on marketplaces like Tmall. Our top advice for entering Tmall is to understand and strategize around its three most important metrics: service, delivery, and content.

What is Tmall’s Detailed Seller Rating (DSR)?

Service, delivery, and content ratings are the three elements that make up Tmall’s Detailed Seller Rating (DSR) score. Each component is scored on a scale of 1-5 that is displayed publicly on your brand’s Tmall flagship store page. This is meant to help consumers decide whether or not to purchase your products.

Why DSR Determines Success on Tmall

DSR scores are important because they’re highly influential in driving conversions—customers see DSRs as a way to quickly understand if a brand is trustworthy and worth buying from. They also matter quite a bit to Tmall itself—they monitor these scores and will take action to close flagship stores with low scores.

Let’s go over each element of the DSR score and some steps you’ll need to take to achieve high ratings.

DSR Score Elements

1. Service

Service is a huge ecommerce component in APAC marketplaces. In most other regions, product listings are static, and consumers use content and reviews to make a decision about what to purchase. On Tmall, consumers want to interact with your brand and test its validity before buying—each transaction takes at least one human interaction to convert.

So, to get a great service rating, you’ll need to have a large, established customer service team dedicated to Tmall sales that can offer real, human touchpoints and very fast response times. To get an idea of the speed your agents should be capable of producing, in our Tmall benchmarking exercise, 92.5% of brands’ customer service agents replied to queries via live chat within 30 seconds, 5% replied within one minute and the remaining 2.5% of brands took longer than a minute. So, look for a Trade Partner (TP) that has enough resources to compete with those numbers, support your sales, and maintain a good DSR score.

2. Delivery

Another thing you’ll really want to focus on is a high-quality delivery experience for consumers. As in other regions around the world, Tmall consumers have high expectations for their delivery experience. In our Chinese consumer polling report that targeted consumers buying from Tmall Global, we found that 6% expected same-day delivery, 15% expected next-day delivery, and 46% expected 2-5 day delivery.They want to receive their products fast and they want the products to be undamaged and pristine upon arrival.

So, to achieve a high score for your delivery capabilities, we highly recommend partnering with a TP or ecommerce accelerator like Pattern (which serves as a TP) who has the ability to facilitate your distribution. Make sure your TP has the right infrastructure in place to support high-quality logistics experiences for all of your consumers—they should have an established, well-oiled delivery process in place and the capability to fluidly add you to their current fulfillment system.

3. Content

As in every digital marketplace, content is a huge component of the decision-making process for consumers on Tmall—they can’t touch your product with their hands or see it in person before buying, so it’s important they’re empowered to make a good decision on whether or not to purchase based on the videos, images, and copy.

The goal is to make all of the content and relevant information on your flagship site easily-accessible—consumers should be able to visit your page and make a decision about whether or not to buy without navigating to a new site/page and taking their conversions with them. Images with text and extensive product details are a great way to do this, as well as making sure your service team can speak to all aspects of your product with any consumers (via text or chat).

Expand Internationally With Pattern

As the world’s foremost brand partner for ecommerce acceleration, Pattern truly understands the significance of international expansion. With regional offices around the world, Pattern knows how to successfully launch and grow brands on Tmall and other marketplaces, with the data, insights, and marketplace intelligence to build the metrics that matter. 

It’s important to have a fantastic brand presence, a knowledgeable guide, and a clear go-forward strategy for your best chance at success. With our in-country resources, expert teams, and extensive experience in growing brands around the globe, Pattern can help you get there.

Set up a call to get your international expansion strategy in motion.