AU fails Amazon challenge with second slowest sites in the world

Published on the 24/01/2018 | Written by Jonathan Cotton

AU websites slow load time

Australia’s e-merchants disregard Amazon threat as a new report shows local load times faster only than China...

In recent times we’ve spilled a fair bit of ink over the impact Amazon’s arrival in Australia will have on local retailers.

The industry was ready for a fight, we said back in October, “spending big on technology, refreshing customer-facing systems and integrating processes to improve offerings”.

We qualified that a bit in November, observing that “tech innovation and implementation in Australia lags behind that of other developed countries” and noting that a troubling lack of confidence going in to Christmas break didn’t seem to jibe with earlier reports that retailers were in full-on prepper-mode for the Amazon onslaught.

Well, a new report seems to confirm the latter, with the news that benchmark tests have revealed Australian websites to be among the slowest in the world.

The study, conducted by digital performance management company Dynatrace, analysed shopper experience by measuring the time it took for leading retail sites in the UK, US, France, Germany, China, Australia, Spain and the Nordic region to be ready for shoppers to use over the holiday period.

The study found that, on average, global retail websites for consumers doing online shopping were generally visually complete and ready to use within 2.5 seconds. Shoppers in Germany and the UK accessed retail websites the quickest, while Australia and China lagged behind the rest.

“Consumers expect websites to load within three seconds or less, so these results make for good reading for retailers,” said Dave Anderson, digital performance expert at Dynatrace.

“Providing shoppers with a great online shopping experience is vital for retailers looking to succeed in the cut-throat world of ecommerce.”

Testing retail sites every 10 minutes from November 24, 2017 to January 3, 2018, the report found that the best online experience was predominantly in western European countries – Germany (36 percent faster than the global average of 2.5 seconds), the UK (32 percent faster) and France (7 percent faster) among the fastest. In contrast, Australia was found to be 15 percent slower than the global average, beating only China’s glacial 42 percent slower pace.

“Germany and the UK are out in front when it comes to user experience, but there’s still work for retailers to do in other countries,” said Anderson.

“The numbers involved may be considered fine margins, but the slightest delay in user experience can have a ripple effect on sales. For example, US-based fashion retailer Nordstrom reported an 11 percent fall in sales following a slowdown of just half a second.”

Given the poor showing, our advice for e-merchants wonder where to focus their tech spend in 2018 remains the same: Customer experience comes first.

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