March 7, 2013, 11:12 AM

ShopJimmy speeds up web pages and sparks sales

With additional site features, it deployed a site accelerator to improve performance.

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After it started selling online at eBay.com in 2007, TV parts retailer ShopJimmy.com LLC launched its own e-commerce site two years later on eBay Inc.’s Magento technology platform. But it soon realized the new site needed a boost in web site performance, the retailer says.

“We are constantly striving to be at the forefront of new technologies and trends that drive the e-commerce industry forward,” says Ryan Zarlengo, marketing director, ShopJimmy. “Our site performance issues were preventing us from leading in this way.”

For example, it was not uncommon on its own web site for shoppers to have to wait ten to 30 seconds to complete a shopping cart transaction between the time a shopper clicked “Place Order” and received an order confirmation, he adds.

ShopJimmy, No. 649 in the Internet Retailer Second 500 Guide, figured the slow site performance was hurting sales and took several steps to speed things up, Zarlengo says. It modified its Magento site’s software code, reconfigured web servers and increased its server capacity, but none of the steps made a noticeable difference, he says. As an open-source technology platform, Magento enables its users to modify the software source code.

In April 2012, it decided to take a new approach and deployed a web site accelerator from Akamai Technologies Inc. Akamai’s Dynamic Site Accelerator is designed to speed up page loads by routing web traffic through Akamai’s global network of more than 100,000 web servers, thereby serving web content from servers close to a consumer.

The change resulted in ShopJimmy cutting its average page load time by more than half, leading to a 35% rise in the number of page views and a 20% increase in the number of monthly visits. The retailer says these improvements contributed to a 95% increase in online sales and helped ShopJimmy handle two to three times as many orders per day, compared with before it deployed the site accelerator.

Faster loading pages has also helped ShopJimmy to rank better in natural search rankings, and the retailer says it has realized a 10% increase in natural search traffic since deploying the site accelerator.

And during busy times, the accelerator has enabled ShopJimmy to handle surges of site traffic without having to add servers. For instance, on the day after Thanksgiving, also referred to as Black Friday, ShopJimmy.com transferred 82% of page requests to the Akamai network while dealing with a record number of unique site visitors, the retailer says.

ShopJimmy and Akamai declined to comment on the cost of deploying the Dynamic Site Accelerator, which Akamai says varies widley based on a client’s usage. However, IPage, a provider of web hosting and related services, advertises the Akamai Dynamic Site Accelerator on its web site as a part of its web hosting services at a starting price of $2.95 per month. A spokeswoman for Akamai notes that iPage offers Dynamic Site Accelerator as part of its hosting service, and that its price for the accelerator applies only to sites hosted by iPage.

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