April 30, 2003, 12:00 AM

How am I doing?

Keynote Systems’ new E-Commerce Transaction Index lets e-retailers compare their site performance to that of top retail sites.

Web performance monitoring company Keynote Systems Inc. is rolling out a new performance index specifically geared to retail. Keynote’s Consumer E-Commerce Transaction Index will allow online retailers to rate performance and availability of the individual steps required to complete a purchase on their site relative to an index of 16 top e-retailers, rather than comparing their site performance to that of a general business index.

The launch of the e-commerce index extends Keynote’s expansion into vertical markets, accompanying the simultaneous release of an e-banking index and following a brokerage/trading index launched earlier. “The launch of the Keynote E-Commerce Consumer Transaction Index supports Keynote’s continued commitment to providing accurate and actionable data that helps business address the real business problem of how to accelerate the growth of online sales,” says Carol Carpenter, director of product management.

Each web transaction measured is representative of the sequence of steps a consumer would take to purchase an item on the company’s web site. The number and type of steps measured in each transaction use a consistent methodology, allowing retailers to compare themselves directly to competitors in their own market. Six steps are measured in each transaction as the index tracks speed, availability and the user’s ability to complete the steps of accessing the home page, searching for a product, viewing the product, putting the product in the cart, proceeding to checkout, and logging into an existing account for purchase. Keynote will offer the new index as a stand-alone service and expects to announce a number of new packages that bundle the index with other Keynote services.

The 16 companies whose web sites make up the e-commerce index rank in the top 1% of e-commerce companies based on visitor traffic, online revenues and consumer interest, according to Keynote. They include Amazon, eBay, Yahoo Shopping, Barnes & Noble, Best Buy, Office Depot, Staples, Office Max, Target, Wal-Mart, JC Penney, Sears, Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, LL Bean and Eddie Bauer.

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