February 19, 2008, 12:00 AM

PacSun.com speeds pages to shoppers 75% faster with content delivery system

Implementing service from vendor Akamai last year reduced by up to 80% the content-serving demand on PacSun.com’s own servers, freeing the site up to add more dynamic and rich content.


Pages are loading 75% faster and dynamic content such as shopping cart transactions are 55% faster than previously, on average, since Pacific Sunwear of California Inc.’s PacSun.com implemented content-acceleration services from Akamai Technologies Inc. late last year, Akamai reports.

Akamai’s Dynamic Site Accelerator service speeds up delivery of web content by maintaining its own servers across the country and around the world. The farther a user’s browser is from the physical location of a web server, the farther the content being served must travel, risking delays as data is switched through multiple servers. Akamai’s service speeds the delivery of content from a retailer’s web servers to customers’ browsers by detecting the quickest path across what may be several cross-system transfers along the way, and routing the content accordingly, Akamai says.

One factor underlying faster page loads and delivery of dynamic content is a reduction in latency, that is, delays that occur as content travels between multiple points in an Internet connection. “Since leveraging the Akamai solution, we have mitigated the Internet latency issues that can interfere with a satisfactory e-commerce experience,” says Stacy Clark, senior director of e-commerce at PacSun. “We have experienced an improvement in latency by up to 30%.”

Akamai’s servers also shoulder more of the burden of transmitting web content. The service, which scales up in response to demand, has reduced the workload on PacSun.com’s own servers by as much as 80%,allowing PacSun.com to add richer and more dynamic content to enhance the shopping experience without compromising site performance.

“Akamai’s solutions have dramatically increased our confidence in the performance of PacSun.com,” Clark says. “We no longer expend significant time and resources preparing for unpredictable peak traffic patterns.”

Brad Rinklin, vice president of marketing at Akamai, notes that as retailers add more dynamic and rich content to sites, it’s critical for a site to be able to cope with traffic and deliver a reliably fast experience to consumers, regardless of the number of images, amount of dynamically generated content served, or Internet connection issues. “With the increasing number of younger audiences interacting online nowadays, they have less patience to wait for a site to load when searching for a specific product,” he says.

PacSun is No. 315 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide to Retail Web Sites.


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