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Two Seconds or You’re Toast in Back-To-School Rush

By Allison Halliday | July 12, 2016

New data has shown that just two seconds on a smartphone makes all the difference for retailers marketing back-to-school products. Consumers will wait just two seconds for an online store app to work and if it is too slow or jams then they’ll move on.

This is particularly important right now as the back-to-school shopping season has already begun, arriving even earlier than before and it’s increasingly being driven online. Last year the e-commerce channel gained $90 million in share growth versus bricks and mortar and it’s been predicted that gains this year could be even higher, with smartphone purchases dominating online retail traffic.


SOASTA is a retail performance analytics company depended on by 53 out of the top 100 Internet retailers that include Nordstrom, Best Buy, Target and Walmart for delivering great consumer experiences for their e-commerce and commerce sites. It conducted a year over year comparison study of digital back-to-school traffic.

In 2014 just over 60% of total traffic came from desktop users while around 33% was from smart phones. Just a year later the figures for the same sites showed 65% of traffic came from smart phones while 25% came from desktop users. Other findings from SOASTA’s back-to-school report found the performance sweet spot, which is the time taken to load a page has shifted from six seconds to just two seconds for smartphone users. This shows a new trend in user expectations as mobile phone users expect their pages to load faster.

The peak conversion rate for smart phone users increased by 450%, showing shoppers aren’t just using their mobile more, they’re also converting a much higher rate. In 2014 the peak conversion rate for this set of sites was just 0.4% while a year later the peak conversion rate was more than 2.2%.

A Harris Poll of more than 2000 Americans found that 91% of back-to-school shoppers found making online purchases stressful, with 25% being frustrated by a page crashing in the middle of a transaction, while 27% were frustrated by slow load times. Nowadays poor digital performance is being measured by retailers in terms of lost customers and revenue. The back-to-school shopping season accounts for 35% of $11.8 billion of yearly sales in the US and is regarded as being a true testing ground that will determine winners and losers in retail.

Allison Halliday is a Realty Biz News contributing writer. She handles International Real Estate and is a seasoned blogger.
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