Record sales were not the only thing online retailers achieved during the past holiday season, at least not according to a study conducted by Web performance solutions provider AlertSite.
E-commerce merchants continue to improve their sites’ performance capabilities during periods of high volume, as exhibited in AlertSite’s 2010 holidays report. The retailer earning the highest marks for providing customers with the best online experience was Williams-Sonoma with a 99.98-percent availability and an average response time of 11.58 seconds.
Sam’s Club and QVC shared second-place honors with the same 99.98-percent availability and identical response times of 13.46 seconds. The trend for improved availability percentages is witnessed by the 97.52-percent average achieved by the major Web retailers included in the study, and the average response time of 20.83 seconds was also an improvement year-to-year.
Forever 21 had the fastest response time of a mere 7.48 seconds, followed by Fashion Bug with 8.23 seconds and Avon with 8.71.
“What this tells us is retailers are learning from past experiences, and putting time and resources into testing the performance of their sites before the holidays arrive,” said Ken Gross, AlertSite President and CEO. “Year-over-year, the occurrence of major website outages or slowdowns during the holidays decreases - evidence of retailers' increased understanding and grasp on their Web performance metrics.”
Merchants take note: the relevance of these trends are not to be underestimated. Studies show that consumer demands are more than keeping up with improved website performance. One recent survey from Forrester Research found that online shoppers expect to wait no longer than two seconds for a page to load, and that nearly half of them would abandon the site altogether after three seconds of waiting.