Slow service isn’t just the scourge of the high street; for just under half of consumers (47%), slow site loading times are the highest cause of basket abandonment online.

That’s according to a report by agile software development specialist Black Pepper Software, that argues that speed of service should be a key consideration for driving sales, with customers “expecting immediacy” across their online shopping journeys.

The research, which was carried out on 2,000 UK shoppers, further found that “long-winded” check-out processes are rated the second-most common reason for leaving among 42% of consumers.

“Consumers have become used to fast and efficient retail encounters and expect every touchpoint to deliver service at speed,” said Josie Byrne, retail account director at Black Pepper Software.

“The agility to deliver on speed can be the difference between a sale and a lost opportunity – indeed, every extra second in website load times costs retailers a 7% reduction in conversions, presenting a £1 billion cost each year*.”

Byrne adds that retailers need to underpin each channel with the ability to deliver seamlessly at speed.

“To do this, they must innovate around the connected customer, and harness the technical flexibility that agile software development practices and machine learning capabilities can provide, to quickly and efficiently create rich multichannel experiences that meet these demands,” she concluded.

*[Summit, 2017]