How Speed Affect eCommerce Performance? The Stationary Bikes Test Case

This article was first posted on LinkedIn on October 14, 2019.

Page-Speed is not the only factor that defines the success of an eCommerce page. There are many other essential factors, like brand relevance, content, price, SEO, etc. Nevertheless, improving Page Speed can significantly improve eCommerce KPI like Conversion Rate and reduce your website bounce rate.

There are two main ways to get your product in front of people searching on Google. Run a Google Ads campaign bidding an amount comparable or higher than your competitors. Or get to the first page of Google Search with a long and patient SEO optimization of your pages.

Search Engine Optimization

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) involves touching almost every aspect of a web page: content, title, keywords, images, JavaScripts, Stylesheets, embedded videos, fonts, and links. The main goals of this long SEO process are:

  • Make the page’s HTML structure consistent, non-ambiguous, and easy to understand for the Googlebot crawler. The more Googlebot understands your page, the better.
  • Highlight the content you believe is the most relevant for your page, and for which you would like your page to be ranked as high as possible by Google.
  • Provide the best user experience and make sure the visitor is engaged by the content and by the interaction. The longer visitors remain after landing on your page, and the more likely Google will send you more visitors.
  • Maximize your Google page ranking to beat your competitors. The only measure that counts is how well is your page performs compared to your direct and indirect competitors (for a given set of keywords you consider strategic).
  • Optimize the Page Load Time reducing to a minimum FCP (First Contentful Paint) and FID (First Input Delay). Page speed is a great contributor to the page rank.

Reducing the Page Load Time is a goal of paramount importance.

Reducing the Page Load Time is a goal of paramount importance. A fast page not only receives a higher page ranking from Google, but it also reaches and converts more visitors. According to Neil Patel, a one-second delay in page response can result in a 7% reduction in conversions. On many eCommerce platforms, achieving top speed can be extremely challenging, if not impossible. In a previous post, I explained the reasons why it is easier to optimize a proprietary platform for hi-speed.

a one-second delay in page response can result in a 7% reduction in conversions

Google PageSpeed Score of popular eCommerce pages selling stationary bikes.

The Test

I tested a group of popular websites to get a more comprehensive picture of how eCommerce product pages are performing. All tested website sells some Stationary Bike model, a product category that includes pages from a wide range of eCommerce sites and platforms. Stationary Bikes are sold by manufacturers as well by popular eCommerce players like Amazon and Walmart. For each website, I run the Google Page Speed test, measuring for mobile and desktop performances. I plotted the result in the histogram below.

The set of brands and websites I selected is not intended to be complete or descriptive of the vertical market. Those are the top brands appearing on a Google Search when I run a search for “stationary bike.” The Score value generated by the test for each page summarizes the performance of the page. Every time you run the test, you can get a slightly different score, mostly based on time of the day and the server load. If you are interested in going deeper, I also included a table where, for each website, I listed the eCommerce platform used, the page tested. I determined the platform to the best of my knowledge. For each site, I recorded mobile data as well as desktop data. For both, I listed the general score, the FCP (First Contentful Paint) measured in seconds, and FID (First Interaction Delay) measured in milliseconds.

eCommerce of stationary bikes: Performance Comparison Table
eCommerce of stationary bikes: Performance Comparison Table

This is the list of website tested (sorted by the best performance on the desktop platform):

  1. NordicTrack – S22i Studio Bike [Magento]
  2. Ciclotte – Ciclotte (I just realized the page has no Buy button, therefore is not a real eCommerce page. That explains the great performance) [WordPress]
  3. Amazon – Schwinn A.C. Sport Indoor Cycle Bike [Proprietary]
  4. Schwinn – 270 Recumbent Bike [SalesForce / Demandware]
  5. Walmart – Light Recumbent Bike [Proprietary]
  6. Rogue Fitness – Echo Bike [Magento]
  7. Technogym — SkillBike [WordPress]
  8. Peloton – Bike [Proprietary]

Page Speed Matters

I already mentioned why Page Speed is critical for SEO. There are many other good reasons to invest time and resources to improve the Page Loading Time of your eCommerce.

  • User Experience. There are a ton of factors Google uses to determine relevancy and the algorithms are always adjusting. User experience is always a big part of it.
  • Engagement Metrics. Where your site shows up on a results page can affect the number of clicks it gets, and better click-through rates can improve where you show up. The more people who click on your website in the SERPs and stay there, the more relevant your website appears to search engines for that query and related topics.
  • Time is Money. Every additional second it takes for your page to load increases the chance people will leave. For ecommerce sites, page speed impacts revenue and slow page speed negatively affects the bottom line.

Franco Folini lives and works in the eCommerce territory, a wild area between the Kingdom of Technology and the Kingdom of Marketing. He speaks fluently the language of both realms. For many years, Franco has been helping people bridge the divide and successfully collaborate.

If you want to find out more about Franco, visit his LinkedIn profile or send him an email folini[at]gmail.com