April 19, 2012, 12:01 PM

Dolce & Gabbana reduces web page load times to less than 1.5 seconds

Improved performance leads to lower abandonment rates in several markets.

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Analyzing its site metrics last year, luxury brand manufacturer Dolce & Gabbana noticed that visitors in the United States, Japan and China were abandoning its site at higher than usual rates. At first, it thought some of the problem might be due to inaccurate translations. But having native speakers translate site content didn’t fix the issue.

The real problem, Dolce & Gabbana found, was that the site was loading too slowly—the average display time was more than 8.5 seconds. At times the site’s load times were so slow that it was nearly inaccessible, says a spokesman for the retailer.

While it considered fixing the problem on its own, by expanding its data center footprint, it decided a more cost-effective option would be to work with a content delivery network. Content delivery networks help web pages render more quickly because they store content on servers located throughout the world, and thus can deliver content from servers geographically close to the consumer making the page request.

The retailer turned to Akamai Technologies’ Dynamic Site Accelerator application. The application uses the Akamai’s global content delivery network of 84,000 servers to cache web site content so that it can be more quickly delivered to consumers visiting Dolce & Gabbana’s sites.

Since implementing the Akamai service last year, Dolce & Gabbana’s average load times fell to less than 1.5 seconds. In North America, the site now loads 5.5 times faster than it did before the retailer began working with Akamai. In Asia, it loads six times faster and in Australia it is seven times faster.

The faster load times have cut the site’s abandonment rates dramatically, which, in turn, has increased conversion rates. Dolce & Gabbana did not offer specific figures.

“The Dolce & Gabbana brand is famous for the highest quality and luxury clothing in the world and our customers expect the highest quality and luxury also when accessing our web site,” says the spokesman. “Thanks to Akamai, we are able to guarantees the best performance under any circumstances, which protects the image of our brand.”

At the Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition 2012, Kevin Diamond, chief technology officer, HauteLook, and Lelah Manz, chief strategist for commerce, Akamai Technologies Inc., will speak in a session entitled “My web site is down! Why the Internet doesn’t always work and what this means for your business.”

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