December 5, 2003, 12:00 AM

Retail web sites not up to it, Keynote reports

During the peak shopping period of 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Eastern time on Friday, consumers could complete a transaction only 80% of the time, says Keynote’s E-Commerce Transaction Performance Index.

 

Heavy traffic killed transactions at many retail web sites on the day after Thanksgiving, reports Keynote Systems Inc., provider of web site performance and management services. During the peak shopping period of 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Eastern time on Friday, consumers could complete a transaction only 80% of the time, says Keynote’s E-Commerce Transaction Performance Index. Throughout the entire day--from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Eastern time, the success rate was 89.1%. By comparison, the success rate on the day before Thanksgiving was 98.4%.

“Clearly, the sites were not adequately prepared to deal with the level of increase in online shopping activity experienced on Black Friday,” Keynote says. Keynote defines success as a consumer’s ability to click through to a product, add it to a cart and complete a purchase. It monitors 13 leading retail web sites to obtain its index information.

“On the Friday after Thanksgiving several retail sites remained below 80% for the majority of the shopping hours. In effect, one out of five online visitors could not complete their transaction on the desired site. Performance stabilized on Saturday and Sunday as sites overcame the rush of Friday,” said Roopak Patel, senior analyst in Keynote’s Public Services group. “On Monday, as people headed back to work, the response times skyrocketed to as high as 65 seconds for particular sites (average response time is typically between 14 and 17 seconds) and success rates plunged for several sites to well below 80%.”

 

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