As themes get more complex, more and more store owners are wondering "Why is my WooCommerce theme so slow?" I'll help you get to the bottom of the problem.
Slow WooCommerce stores face lots of problems, including poor search engine visibility, negative user experiences, and reduced conversions.
In fact, one report found that conversion rates drop by an average of 4.42% with each additional second of load time. Therefore, if your store is generating $20,000 in sales a month, it could potentially be losing around $10,000 in sales a year due to a delay of just one second.
Due to this, making your eCommerce store load as quickly as possible is definitely something you should focus on.
But what causes poor performance and what can you do about it?
Although there are many reasons for slow load times, your WooCommerce theme could be responsible for your store’s poor performance.
In this article, we run through some of the reasons why your WooCommerce theme could be responsible for slowing down your store. We then share some advice on how you can rectify that.
Top 7 reasons why your WooCommerce theme is slow
As mentioned, your choice of WooCommerce theme could be responsible for your store running slowly.
Here are some of the reasons why that could be the case.
1. Inadequate hosting
WooCommerce stores can be much more resource-intensive than regular WordPress sites. This is due to processing orders, managing inventories, and displaying large product libraries.
This issue can be compounded if you’ve chosen a slow WooCommerce theme.
In this situation, your host will not only have to handle the extra processing power required by eCommerce stores, but it will also have to deal with the issues of a poorly optimized WooCommerce theme.
If your host can’t cope with the eCommerce aspects of your store and your choice of WooCommerce theme, then your site will load slowly and appear unresponsive.
Thankfully, by choosing a performance-focused theme and selecting WooCommerce-optimized hosting, you can overcome these issues. At Barn2, we use and recommend Kinsta as the best managed WordPress host.
2. Too many plugins
Installing too many plugins on your WordPress website is a common cause of slow load times.
This is even more of a problem for WooCommerce sites as they tend to require a lot of additional extensions to add the necessary eCommerce functionality required to deliver a professional experience.
To exacerbate the issue, many popular WooCommerce themes also come bundled with many in-house and third-party plugins. These plugins add general functionality to your site, such as page builder and sliders, as well as eCommerce functionality.
Due to this, there’s a good chance that the speed of your WooCommerce store and theme could be affected by having too many plugins installed.
While there’s no general limit to the number of plugins you should install, each additional plugin that you do activate has the potential to slow down your WooCommerce store and theme.
Based on the law of averages, there’s a chance that at least one of those plugins will have a noticeable impact on site speed. Then there are plugin conflicts to consider and the issue that can have on load times.
One way around this issue is to choose a WooCommerce theme that doesn’t require many plugins. Also, looking for performance-focused WooCommerce plugins that combine many of the features of multiple plugins into one is also recommended.
3. Bloated multipurpose themes
Perhaps the main reason why your WooCommerce theme is slow is that you chose a slow one from the outset.
Even without inadequate hosting or too many plugins, your WooCommerce theme is just generally slow.
If this is the case, you’re always going to be facing an uphill battle when trying to make your store faster.
Even with the best hosting and the perfect collection of plugins, your store will always be disadvantaged compared to those built with fast WooCommerce themes.
One of the main reasons why a WooCommerce theme is slow is bloat.
There are many causes for theme bloat, but a common one is that the theme has been built to be “multipurpose.”
For these themes to live up to the promise of being suitable for creating almost any type of website imaginable, they often come with hundreds of site demos, vast libraries of features for every eventuality, a long list of required plugins, and wayward control panels that add many pages of settings to your WordPress dashboard.
All these extra components can increase the size or weight of your website, resulting in the slow load times that cause poor user experience, low conversion rates, and poor search engine visibility.
Choosing a purpose-built WooCommerce theme rather than an all-purpose theme is one way to avoid this type of bloat.
Other issues that could be slowing down your theme include:
4. Poor quality bloated CSS files
If poorly coded, the CSS files that control the styling of your theme can cause slow load times.
As well as repetitive CSS causing problems, generally the more CSS files a page uses, the slower it will load.
5. Unoptimized images
Images that make up your theme and product pages with large file sizes could be a major reason why your site is running slowly.
Thankfully, you don’t have to delete all those images as there’s a lot you can do to optimize them to improve load times.
7. Too many HTTP requests
The more of these parts your theme, plugins, and pages use, the more HTTP requests that are made. And the more requests that are made the greater the chance of slow load times occurring. Too many HTTP requests can also negatively affect the user experience, making the site appear unresponsive. This that can affect your Interaction to Next Paint (INP) Core Web Vital score.
Now that you’re aware of some common reasons why your WooCommerce theme and store are slow, it’s time to look at how you can improve performance.
Why Shoptimizer could be the fast WooCommerce theme you’re looking for
If you’ve looked at the above reasons for poor performance and can see how some or all of them apply to your store, then it might be time to consider changing to the fastest WooCommerce theme.
I’m of course referring to the Shoptimizer WooCommerce theme.
Shoptimizer is a performance-focused theme that was built to deliver fast load times.
However, those high levels of performance don’t come at the expense of features.
As we’re about to see, the Shoptimzer package has all of the eCommerce features and functionality needed to ensure your store delivers a competitive and positive user experience.
Here are some of the reasons why Shoptimzer could be the fast WooCommerce theme you’re looking for:
- Fast load times - Independent tests have shown Shoptimzer to be one of the fastest WooCommerce themes around.
- No use of external font libraries - Shoptimzer doesn’t rely on external font libraries which have the potential to slow down your store.
- Use of a single optimized font - Inter is the only font used by Shoptimizer with two font weights (400 and 600). It prevents additional fonts from being loaded.
As mentioned, despite being performance-optimized, Shoptimizer isn't lacking in features:
Templates and customization options
The Shoptimizer demo has all the templates you will likely need when building your store.
The theme is also fully compatible with the Elementor website builder so that you can design your own custom page designs. Other page builders are supported, too.
Shoptimizer is also built for accessibility. The theme is tested with screen readers to ensure blind and low-vision visitors access your store.
Shoptimizer also passes the WCAG accessibility guidelines. This helps your store avoid fines and lawsuits related to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
One of the highlights of Shoptimizer is that it includes the powerful CommerceKit WooCommerce plugin at no extra cost.
As mentioned, one reason for poor WooCommerce performance is having too many plugins installed.
Multiple plugins in one
CommerceKit was built to overcome this by consolidating many of the essential eCommerce features into a single performance-optimized plugin.
Not only does this save you money, but it also reduces the chances that one of the many plugins you would’ve otherwise installed slows down your site. Fewer plugins installed also means less chance of a conflict between the extensions you’re using.
But that’s not all CommerceKit does.
Faster load times
To improve the performance of your WooCommerce store, CommerceKit has its own cache. This feature is particularly effective if you’re using product swatches at your store. Thanks to this, even if your products have lots of variations, product pages can still load quickly.
Another valuable swatch-related feature of CommerceKit is how it displays swatches on product listings pages (rather than just the single product pages). This lets shoppers see which variations are available and in stock without having to visit the single product pages.
Another vital part of your store that is probably slowing it down considerably is the single product pages or product description pages. One of the main reasons why these pages can load slowly and receive poor Google Core Web Vitals scores is the poor performance of the WooCommerce Product Gallery feature. To overcome this issue, CommerceKit has its own Product Gallery feature to replace the less-than-optimal core WooCommerce Product Gallery.
Not only is the CommerceKit Product Gallery fast, but it also has some valuable features to enhance your product galleries. This includes multiple gallery layouts, the ability to include auto-playing videos in product galleries, and optional lightbox functionality. CommerceKit also has lazy loading functionality to ensure the images on your single product pages only load when needed.
Images in the product galleries are also updated instantly when a shopper clicks on a product variation from a single product page. For example, if the customer clicks on the green color variation of a product, the product gallery will display images for that variation, without any page loads being required.
In addition to the performance-improving features of CommerceKit, the plugin can also help increase sales at your store.
One such feature is the order bump functionality. This feature recommends additional products on the checkout page of your store to increase the average order value.
You can also use the free shipping notification and progress bar tto encourage visitors to increase their order value.
Another promotional feature is the countdown timer, which can be displayed on product pages and at checkout.
So unlike with other WooCommerce themes, you won't have to install dozens of additional third-party plugins to add essential and desirable features. Instead, you can use CommerceKit. This avoids the risk of slowing down your store or running into conflicts between all those plugins.
The Shoptimizer and ConvertKit team invest heavily in performance, particularly for stores with large catalogs. Unfortunately, many WooCommerce plugins don't test at scale. This means that they can’t deliver their advertised performance improvements for larger stores.
As we’ve just seen, there are many reasons why your WooCommerce theme might be slow.
Slow load times negatively affect search engine visibility, user experience, and conversion rates. As a result, a slow theme is probably impacting the profitability of your business.
Furthermore, if you’ve chosen a poorly optimized theme, your store will never load as fast as it could be. This will happen even if you’ve invested in high-quality hosting and the best third-party plugins.
However, this can all be rectified by upgrading to a fast, performance-focused theme.
Our tests have shown that Shoptimizer is the fastest WooCommerce theme around. If you’re ready to make a change or you’d like to know more, check out Shoptimizer today.