Why Checkout Latency is More Important than You Think
Shopify announced they decreased checkout latency by 20%, but what is latency and why does this matter?
July 2, 2019
It takes 90,000 milliseconds to read this blog post.
If you want to listen to Old Town Road, that’s another 150,000 milliseconds.
The time it takes to whip up a peanut butter and jelly sandwich? : 188,000 milliseconds
It might feel silly and trivial to measure these times in milliseconds. Your customers don’t feel that way in your store’s checkout, though. In the checkout, those milliseconds matter more than you think.
At Shopify Unite, the e-commerce giant’s annual Partner Conference, Shopify announced they had decreased their checkout latency by 20%.
So what is latency? Why does this matter?
Basically, it’s the time it takes for data to traverse across the internet to get to the user.
In a single word: delay.
Think of your E-commerce store as a restaurant. The customer (user) orders from the waiter (latency). It takes time for the waiter to input the order, for the kitchen to cook it, and the waiter to serve it to the customer.
So, what happens if the waiter takes to long, freezes up or forgets your order?
The customer leaves.
This is also true of your checkout. This has actually been an issue in E-commerce for so long that a decade ago, Amazon shared that every 100ms of Latency Cost them 1% in Sales.
In 2018, Amazon made $10.1 billion in net income. This means over $100 million could potentially be lost due to a 1-second delay.
More recently, A 2017 Akamai study revealed that every 100-millisecond delay in website load impacted conversion rates by 7%. In businesses, 7% can easily be the difference between loss and profit.
The average customer expects your website pages to load in 4 seconds or less. This number is included in checkout load times.
In reality, industry average desktop page loads look more like 5.3 seconds, or 8.2 seconds on mobile devices. Yikes.
A goal in E-commerce is to move the customer faster through the checkout. This is why services like PayPal are so successful.
A slow website or checkout costs you more than just lost revenue though! Your website’s loading speed affects your traffic through pay-per-click channels and organic search engines.
A slower website gains you a lower Google Quality Score. The lower your Google Quality Score, the higher cost-per-click. Google recently made official in what they’ve dubbed the “Speed Update”:
Personally, I’ve been shopping online and on a whim, I’ve clicked the checkout with PayPal button. A few seconds and a couple of clicks later and I am awaiting the arrival of a new Nintendo Switch.
I know it’s not just me. By lowering checkout latency, Shopify is essentially greasing the wheels of the checkout process. Removing friction is key to combating the second-guessers and impatient patrons on your website.
This is why it’s such great news to hear checkout Latency is being decreased on Shopify.
In general, Shopify offers a great platform proven to perform under pressure. Another way Shopify combats latency is through the use of a Content Delivery Network, or CDN. Using a CDN ensures your e-commerce store loads quickly for users wherever they are, even with Shopify’s servers being in North America.
Having a superb customer experience, including low latency makes a world of difference. Customers reward companies with fast websites. By offering them the best experience possible, you can expect the best possible experience in return.