Everyone hates slow loading websites, and a new survey highlights just how damaging a slow site can be to the user experience.

The study by Brand Perfect found that two thirds of UK consumers (67%) cite slow loading times as the main reason they would abandon an online purchase.

It’s a topic we’ve looked at in more detail in our post ‘Site speed: case studies, tips and tools for improving your conversion rate‘, with stats showing that slow loading websites are losing businesses up to £1.73bn a year.

The second most common reason for basket abandonment is difficult navigation or problems finding a product (50%), followed by too many steps when trying to purchase goods (40%) and not being able to gauge the size of products (36%).

A third of respondents (33%) said that being forced to register was a key reason for basket abandonment, yet a number of major online retailers still fail to offer a guest checkout option.

In fact, ASOS managed to reduce it basket abandonment by 50% by removing any mention of registering, even though new users still have to set up an account during the checkout process.

Brand Perfect’s survey also asked what would improve the online shopping experience. The top three requests were:

  • Safer (61%)
  • Easier to navigate (57%)
  • Faster (52%)

This shows that despite the fact e-commerce is no longer a new way of shopping, people are still concerned about security issues.

As such, retailers need to make sure they are providing reassurances during the payment process, particularly on mobile checkouts where research has shown that security fears are a major barrier to adoption.

Finally, Brand Perfect’s research also asked respondents which of the top 10 UK retailers offer the best online experience, taken from Interbrand’s Best Retail Brands 2012.

Bizarrely, the overwhelming winner with 62% of the vote was ‘Other’. Tesco came second with 18%, followed by Argos (15%), John Lewis (10%) and M&S (8%).

I suspect that a large proportion of the respondents who selected ‘Other’ would have stated ‘Amazon’ had it been an option.

Brand Perfect’s research is based on an online survey of 1,568 UK consumers.