The Jones Group Inc. has worked with SmartBear Software’s AlertSite for at least five years. While it uses the vendor’s web and mobile performance monitoring to ensure its sites are available, it primarily draws on the data AlertSite provides to compare its baseline performance against its competitors’, says Michael Hines, vice president of web marketing and development for Jones, No. 204 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide. AlertSite provides data on a retailer’s competing sites.
“Let’s say Amazon is someone I’m comparing our sites against,” he says. “If Amazon has gotten faster, I know that we need to adjust, as well.” If it fails to adjust, he says, it might miss out on sales because studies have shown that there’s a correlation between site performance and revenue. While Hines declined to give an example of a revenue boost Jones’ five sites have seen after improving site speed, numerous retailers have seen that type of correlation. For instance, after boosting its load times 200%, online-only retailer SmartFurniture.com increased its revenue 12% year over year.
Competitive analysis is particularly important during the holiday season, when Jones’ sites traditionally have the greatest influx of traffic, he says. Before each holiday season, Hines digs into
AlertSite's data to ensure that Jones is providing load times that are at least as fast, if not faster than, the competition. If a site like Amazon.com loads in two seconds and JNY.com takes three seconds, then Hines works with his site’s IT team to analyze how to speed up the site. For instance, there may be some site content that can be cached for faster delivery to consumers.