Speedy websites are food for thought

Fast food makes you think fast - so will fast websites

Fast food makes you think fast – so will fast websites

I am writing this as fast as I can because I know you want to read it quickly. OK, old joke I know, but….there is a point. Honest. I have just primed your mind to think of speed and now you want everything that happens to be quick. Rapid fire. Speedy.

New research shows that the mere thought of “fast food” makes us want everything else we consider after that to also be rapid. Even seeing a logo of a fast food chain can make you impatient. When people were shown a logo from a fast food chain and then given the choice of having a small amount of money now or waiting for a while and getting a larger sum – guess what, they wanted the small cash reward straight away. But when they were offered the cash rewards without prior sight of a fast food logo, they were prepared to wait.

It confirms earlier studies which show that something we have “on our minds” affects our subsequent behaviour. And that is important to anyone operating an e-commerce site or retailing online. Say someone has just been to Amazon and bought something with the one-click buying process. Then they visit your site and have to register, confirm this and that, go to a separate screen to finalise their purchase – hey presto, you’ve lost a shopper because their patience has worn out.

Similarly, consider the person who has just searched on Google for the very thing you sell. Their search results arrive in 0.25 seconds and then they click on the link to your site and wait and wait and wait. You got it, they are already fed up.

People do not just come to your site to shop without any prior “on their mind” stuff. When they visit your shop their head is full of experiences and expectations from other websites and online services. If those websites have done things rapidly, this new research suggests that people expect your site also to be speedy, your shopping cart to be fast and your delivery to be rapid.

Because you have no idea at the moment they arrive on your site what prior experiences your visitors have, you simply must assume their mind is impatient; they could be primed by other online experiences to want things rapidly. Fail to do that and they will not wait around in your online shop for very long.

It means you need:

  • Fast loading web pages
  • Easy, shallow navigation (no more than one click)
  • One-step shopping carts

Provide those and you will sell more. Because of this speed-priming of people’s minds they will expect your shopping cart and your website to be at least as fast as the site they have just come from. People prefer “instant reward” rather than waiting for it when they are already in “rapid fire mode”. Do anything slowly on your website and they could be heading away from your site and down to the nearest take-away for some sustenance..!

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