Retail

Target, Apple And Walgreens Winning The War On Load Times

So what’s the secret to building a website that is a lean, mean, time-saving machine that loads pages fast and gets consumers shopping with an absolute minimum of wait time?

Clutter cutting.

At least that is the conclusion of a new performance measuring survey by Catchpoint Systems, whcih took a deep dive into the pages of the retailers that are setting the gold standard in quick load times.

What Target, Apple and Walgreens had in common are lean sites with page weights under 2 megabytes. In fact, all of the Top 10 performers on the list share that trait.

“Attention spans are getting shorter, and for eCommerce sites, even a few milliseconds of performance improvement can increase revenues. Fortunately, any website can afford to institute the same practices used by the performance leaders,” says Mehdi Daoudi, Catchpoint’s CEO and co-founder.

The study was done by measuring page load times during the first three months of the year, then measuring the eCommerce site performance of 49 top retailers. On that list are Amazon, Walmart and Overstock.com, to name a familiar few. The study was done through 27 monitoring points nationwide to balance out relative differences in network speed and develop a reliable average.

Top speed providers, apart from being light page weight wise, also kept social media plugs-in and video to a minimum and content delivery networks so pages can load up faster. The study also found that asynchronous loading, which loads fast textual elements and skips larger slower ones next, gives the consumer the impression of faster load times.

Catchpoint also found that even among top performers, obvious load time saving techniques were being ignored, like image optimization or correct placement of Java script.

“In spite of the gains many eCommerce companies have made, web performance must always be considered a work in progress,” Daoudi says.

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