Internet Retailer Top 50 improve Q3 website performance as online shoppers become less patient at the checkout
Develop | Posted October 25, 2010

Online shoppers are becoming less patient about website glitches that affect their shopping and purchasing experience. According to recent survey results from Tealeaf Technology Inc., only 18 percent of consumers would try to complete a failed transaction a second time, regardless of how long it would take. And 26 percent of shoppers would try the transaction at a competitor’s website, demonstrating just how costly the effects of poor website performance can be on your business.

In fact, website problems can cost retailers $44.6 billion in lost annual revenue, says Tealeaf.

With these statistics in mind, we released today the results of our Q3 Web Performance Index for Retail. For the most part, e-commerce sites continue to show progress in improving the user experience for their shoppers.

Each quarter, we monitor and rank the website performance of Internet Retailer’s Top 50 Retailers. This quarter’s results are based on websites’ availability and average response times from July 1 through Sept. 30. The results reveal one repeat performance and two new retailers that have stepped up to secure a spot in our Top three.

The three online retailers with the overall best website performance during Q3 were:

1.) Avon, with 99.99 percent availability and an average response time of 1.27 seconds. Avon retained this #1 position from Q2.

2.) Dell, which delivered 99.97 percent availability and a 1.73 second average response time.

3), with 99.98 percent availability and an average response time of 2.05 seconds.

Avon stood out with near-perfect availability during Q3. In 19,840 measurements, there was only one recorded error. and also had 99.99 percent availability during the quarter.

We also took a look at the Q3 performance data as compared to previous quarters and for many sites, it was a successful quarter. Twenty-six of the 50 sites delivered their fastest response times in Q3, and 19 experienced their highest availability yet.

The sites with the most improved response times were:

  • 1800Flowers, with an average response time of 6.95 seconds, down from 14.23 seconds in Q1 and 10.59 seconds in Q2.

  • improved response time to 7.94 seconds as compared to 14.12 seconds last quarter.

  • Sony Style delivered 7.18 second response times in Q3 compared to 11.66 seconds in Q2.

Meanwhile, there were two sites that delivered higher response times over Q2:

  • Redcats almost quadrupled its average response times from 3.42 seconds in Q2 to 12.15 seconds in Q3.

  • J.Crew nearly tripled its average response time from Q2 (2.21 seconds) to Q3 (6.21 seconds). However, due to a content change in mid-August, response times did return to normal.

It is clear that online retailers understand the importance of delivering a fast and reliable website experience to customers. This quarter’s overall benchmark average for response times decreased from 4 seconds to 3.8 seconds, while availability increased from 99.74 percent to 99.77 percent.

Many retailers are in a good position heading into the start of the holiday shopping season, so it will be interesting to see if they are able to maintain performance as Web traffic increases. Q4 is when the limits of retail websites are tested. Downtime during the holidays can result in millions of dollars in lost revenue.

It is critical that retailers test and prepare their websites now so they are ready to meet user expectations. And when all else fails, it is always a good idea to also have a Plan B -- just in case!


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