November 27, 2007, 12:00 AM

Heavy traffic on Monday slows down some retail sites

A third of sites that Keynote Systems Inc. monitors for its Holiday Retail Index suffered slowdowns on Monday, the symbolic start of the online holiday shopping period. None of the sites crashed, but many experienced extended checkout times.

Don Davis

Editor in Chief

 

A third of sites that Keynote Systems Inc. monitors for its Holiday Retail Index suffered slowdowns on Monday, the symbolic start of the online holiday shopping period. While none of the sites suffered shutdowns, many experienced extended checkout times of up to two minutes. “That’s way more than most people are willing to wait,” says Shawn White, director of external operations for Keynote.

The slowdowns indicate that many retailers had not prepared early enough or extensively enough for yesterday’s traffic, White says. It also indicates that many retailers had not tested the third-party applications and services they use to complete a sale. Retailers should make sure that their content delivery networks, payment processors and ad servers are all up to the volume demands, White says. “It’s not enough to measure performance of the home page,” he says. “And it’s not even enough to measure the entire site. They need to test their entire web application.”

He added that several large chains that are just stepping up their web presence experienced problems on Monday. “Bricks-and-mortar chains are new at this and it’s critical that they prepare for it just like they do for their stores,” White says.

 

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