How to Get Your Head of Ecommerce Bought-in on Site Speed

Hey, our website is really slow, we need to address it.

It might seem like a no-brainer to convince your Head of Ecommerce to invest in site speed. After all, faster sites mean more sales, right? What more is there to say?

Two workers in an office discussing in front of a laptop

Yet, many great ecommerce leads feel powerless when it comes to tackling major cross-departmental initiatives like site speed. Moving the needle requires buy-in from operations, marketing, and technical teams. Not to mention, carving out the time and resources to upskill existing teams or hire specialists to help.

But here’s the truth: ecommerce teams have more clout and impact than they realize. With the right knowledge, data, and strategies in hand, you can be the hero of your ecommerce team and drive your initiatives forward–even when it comes to site speed.

Common Hurdles When Proposing Site Speed Improvements

Brand perception is influenced by more than the color of your logo, your font face, or your mission statement. People notice whether or not you respect their time and attention. Whether you like it or not, site speed is everyone's business. If you want to move the needle, it will require buy-in and engagement from all stakeholders, and a culture shift between engineering, operations, and marketing teams.

Objection 1: We have too many other projects that need our attention

Why this over other stuff? There are 50 different projects being thrown at us from leadership, feature requests, competition… etc.

Try this response:

Which of those other opportunities will benefit so many different parts of the business from the same change? From increasing marketing effectiveness and turning advertising dollars into traffic to reducing our hosting costs while simultaneously ranking higher on Google. 

Improving site speed can help increase conversion rates and decrease abandonment while boosting customer satisfaction and engagement metrics. It impacts the top line, the bottom line, and everything in between. What we need to do is build a business case for site speed. 

Consider these results from other brands:

Improving site speed will even improve the very projects with which it competes for prioritization. Where in our business is having a slower website advantageous?

Objection 2: We don't have the budget to tackle this

I have no idea how much this will cost. Internally, we're over capacity. Bringing in an external team could totally blow our budget.

Try this response:

Sure, it might be an added cost up front, but the cost of not improving website speed is certainly greater. The more customers that leave our site to shop elsewhere because of slow load times, the worse our bounce rates on ad campaigns, the lower our SEO rank, the more revenue we ultimately miss out on.

 This isn't just an ecommerce problem. It's a marketing problem, operations problem, and technology problem. Maybe there's an opportunity to co-invest in site speed improvement with those departments, so we all benefit from a faster website.

There's also an opportunity to ensure these improvements generate more revenue than they cost. We can use our own traffic to model the relationship between site speed and revenue, to determine how much we're losing for every second of delay.

Objection 3: We don’t have the skillset, it's too technically complex

We don’t know how to do this ourselves and don't have the resources to teach us.

Try this response:

That may be true. Meanwhile, our competitors are investing heavily in improving site speed. Giants like Amazon, Best Buy, Walmart, and the like have entire teams dedicated to site reliability engineering (SRE) and web performance. Even smaller competitors understand the value of investing in site speed The skill gap is growing, and we need to address it.

Plus, data from Microsoft found that engineers who improve their server  performance by even 10ms more than pay for their annual salary. That means not only will upskill bring in more revenue, but it will also make our existing resource investment more efficient.

Let's start by finding a qualified web performance consultant who can help us create a plan to improve our site speed, measure it the right way across our whole digital footprint, and coach us on best practices. They can help us identify what optimization steps we need to take to get faster loading times and a better user experience. Additionally, they can advise us on which technologies to invest in and when.

Objection 4: We need the devs to fix this, and they're already swamped

Sure, a faster website would be amazing. But we don't have the skills to do this on our team, and our developers are over capacity as it is.

Try this response:

I completely understand. It can be difficult to find the time and resources needed to address an issue like this, especially with limited staff and capacity. 

If we always rely on the argument that we don't have enough developers, the site will never get faster. And if the site never gets faster, we'll never be able to attract more developers to work on an old, underperforming platform. It’s a chicken and egg situation.

Perhaps we can't afford more developers. Improving our site performance will bring in more revenue, which can be used to expand our capabilities. If  attracting new talented developers is our bottleneck,  then tackling challenging and innovative technical projects can help position us as an exciting place to work.

Objection 5: I don't have the authority to make this happen

I can’t act outside of my own mandate. There is no C-suite ecommerce role, and I need to sell upward–or at least across to the other teams. I can’t tell other departments what to spend their money on.

Try this response:

This should indeed be a  discussion across multiple departments. Just like UX, or brand, we need the conversation around site speed to be a company-wide responsibility.

We can start by sitting down with the marketing team and getting their input on how site speed affects marketing campaigns. From there, we can talk to the development team about what kind of resources they need to make these changes, and what opportunities there are for all of our departments to pitch in on budget.

Once we have a communal understanding of the value and opportunity here, we can present our case to leadership. After all, site speed is affecting every metric in our business, company culture, employee retention, talent attraction, and brand positioning in the market, too.

Making site speed a priority

While there are clear revenue-generating benefits of site speed, it is often perceived as a technical issue. Or, simply something teams just don't have time for.

It's true, site speed is an investment, and requires a shift in company culture. Making space for site speed conversations, understanding how to bring them up to your superiors, and knowing how to build a business case for optimizations is often the first hurdle.

Once you have your team's attention and buy-in, it's time to bring in the professionals. Our team of web performance consultants can help you create a culture of speed, empower your team to measure their efforts and provide the resources needed to manage these efforts on your own. To begin the conversation, contact us today.

Team of three working at a desk

Make a business case for speed

Running a fast website requires buy-in from marketing, technology, ecommerce, and leadership teams. Prepare for the hurdles you may encounter from the stakeholders beyond your team.