We have all come to expect fast load times that create seamless experiences from our online browsing. Your customers expect the same from your Shopify store. Load speeds are something you would never hear about if everything is perfectly optimized, but will certainly affect your customers’ experience if they’re not what customers expect. In such cases, you will need to speed up your site to keep customers engaged.
In this post, we’ll take a look at how slow sites can impact sales, and go over three tips to improve your store’s speed.
Speed up your Shopify store: Why optimization matters
Optimization for all websites is important, but even more so for eCommerce sites as it not only affects the user experience, but also sales. According to a Kissmetrics report, 40% of customers abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load. This is backed by scientific studies which suggest that tolerable wait time for a website to load is roughly 2 seconds. Anything longer starts creating a negative experience for users.
79% of shoppers who aren’t satisfied with website performance end up never shopping at the same store again.
A faster website can also positively impact conversions. Amazon once reported that their revenue increases by 1% for every 100 millisecond improvement in their load time.
You can test your own store to see how different pages stack up, and whether optimizing pages had a positive impact on customer experience, and ultimately revenue.
You can use free online tools to test your site speed. These include:
Both these tools allow you to see performance and areas that can be improved. Many of these would include code. Below, we list 3 tips you can use to speed up your Shopify store without needing to change any code. These tips will help reduce load times, and improve the time it takes for customers to interact with useful content. This is generally known as Time to Interact or TTI.
Speed up your Shopify store: Tip 1. Optimize images
Images generally make up a bulk of a website’s page size. As screens have gotten bigger and better, websites have had to keep pace by displaying images with higher resolutions so that they look good on these screens, for example on retina display devices.
These higher resolution images have bigger file sizes that can negatively affect load times, especially on devices with lower speeds like cell phones and tablets. In such cases, the page takes extra time to load even though a lower resolution image may have been optimal for smaller screens.
You can use free tools like ImageOptim that reduces file sizes and compresses images without the loss of image quality. Note that you will have to optimize images before you upload them to your Shopify store.
If you want a more integrated tool, you can use the ImageRecycle app for Shopify that automatically optimizes images and PDFs on your Shopify store. Here’s a quick demo video explaining the app:
Once you install the app, it compresses any new image you upload to the site, and also optimizes your existing images.
Speed up your Shopify store: Tip 2. Delete inactive apps
One thing that can add extra weight to your Shopify store are installed but inactive or unused apps. This is especially true if you’ve had your store for a long time, or have tried many different apps. Installed apps can sometimes create requests during the loading of each page.
At least once a year, try to do an inventory of your apps and delete any apps that you no longer use.
Speed up your Shopify store: Tip 3. Mobile-optimized themes
Another thing that older stores may need to invest in, is to shift their site to a mobile-optimized theme. Shopify has a number of responsive themes that you can use. These themes adjust the elements on your store based on the screen size of the device being used to access the website.
You can take this even further by using device-responsive themes where themes serve elements, like images, at a resolution that is optimal for the device. For example, if a customer has opened your site from a retina display iPad, the theme can detect the device and serve the most appropriate image resolution. You can reach out to the theme author to check whether a theme is device-responsive or not.
Speed up your Shopify store: Summary
A slow online store can have a negative impact on your bottom line. Many case studies suggest that slower websites receive lower page views, engagements, and conversions. You can check your Shopify store site’s performance using a number of free online tools to see how you measure against the industry and competitors, and whether and how much you need to invest in optimization.
Broadly speaking, there are three things you can do today to optimize the speed on your store. Optimize your images as these generally take up a bulk of the bandwidth when the browser loads pages. Another good practice is to remove any inactive apps as these may have residual code running that extend load times. Lastly, you can shift your store to a mobile-friendly theme as these are typically optimized for mobile browsing where network connections are slower.
Are there other things you do to speed up your store? Tell us in the comments.
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