July 25, 2003, 12:00 AM

How the new Macys.com got heavier graphics, but speedier page delivery

Even with a redesign that features larger images and product zoom for viewing fine details, the new Macys.com focuses on increasing the speed at which shoppers can download its web pages.


With redesigned pages that emphasize larger images with a new zoom feature for viewing fine details, Macys.com is focusing on the speed at which shoppers can download its web pages. "We`re making a major investment in a coding effort to assure the speed of our site," president Kent Anderson tells InternetRetailer.com. He adds that he expects the increased speed to boost sales.

Macys.com, the e-commerce web site associated with Federated Department Stores Inc.`s Macy`s department stores, launched this week a site redesign that includes a new look for its home page with larger images and 10 redesigned category sections, each also displaying larger images of products. But even with all the additional imaging, speed has not become an issue, Anderson says. "Macys.com is one of the fastest web sites in its category," he says.

The retailer is working with Akamai Technologies Inc. to make its online merchandising applications more accessible through strategically placed web servers, providing better access for consumers regardless of where they`re located, Anderson says. "We know that in certain parts of the country--Phoenix is a good example--our customers` online shopping experience is slower than in New York or San Francisco due to their local access to the web and where we locate our servers," he says.

A test of the Akamai project during last year`s Christmas shopping season found that it enabled consumers to download pages faster. "Response time in getting product pages from the web was substantially improved," Anderson says. "At the same time, our conversion rate and sales increased substantially over the prior year`s holiday season."

Anderson says he expects web site speed to improve throughout the U.S. as a result of the Akamai project, leading to increased sales as customers download the site faster and gain an easier shopping experience--even with the increased emphasis on larger images and zoom technology. "We know over a period of time we`ll get more sales from the Phoenix area," he says.


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