With fewer shoppers online than in earlier weeks, the average transaction time and success rate on completing transactions improved in the season`s final week. As online shopping increases, the message to retailers is clear: prepare for bigger loads.
After an uneven performance in terms of web site responsiveness through the peak holiday shopping season, response times and transaction success rates rose for the final week of the season beginning Dec. 22. According to Internet performance monitoring firm Keynote Systems, the week’s average response time for completing a transaction, 13.86 seconds, and the success rate for completing a transaction, 97.33%, were the best of the season.
By contrast, the low point for response time during the four weeks of the season was the week of December 8 when average response time was 15.03 seconds; while the lowest success rate for transaction completion was 93.68 during the week of December 1. Keynote speculates that the reason for the improved performance during the final week was that fewer people were shopping online than in previous weeks.
Noting industry figures from sources such as ComScore Networks, which showed that e-commerce sales rose 29% from last year to $11.2 billion in November and December, Keynote senior Internet analyst Roopak Patel calls the growth “a double-edged sword” for online retailers not equipped to handle increased traffic and transactions. “With consumers increasingly heading to the web for holiday shopping and other purchases, it is essential that retailers prepare their sites larger loads all year, but especially during holiday periods,” he says.
Keynote’s E-Commerce Transaction Index, the source of the weekly data on holiday web site performance, measures the response time and success rate for executing a typical multi-step retail transaction on 11 leading retail web sites.