January sales shoppers experience disruption online

By Robert Castley

There were a few sites which suffered significant problems during this period. The Arcadia stores – Miss Selfridge, TopShop, TopMan and Dorothy Perkins – seemed to have a particularly low average successful load rate on January 7th, where reliability dropped to around 85 percent. This meant that for 15 percent of potential customers who visited at this time, the site didn’t load as it should. Even more significant was the increase in average load time for the Office website which, from 22nd January 12.13pm to 27th January 05.00am GMT, took an average of 29 seconds to load. This was due to a third party tag on the site.

The January sales are a critical time for retailers and never before has the focus been so much online. While pre-Christmas revenue is undoubtedly important, post-Christmas sales strategies also need to be a success if retailers want to secure loyal customers, who will continually keep their bottom line healthy. A consistently good customer experience is fundamental to securing repeat custom and this is exactly what retailers such as Office and the Arcadia Group failed to deliver.

Retailers need to remember that they must offer a good experience across the board to achieve user satisfaction and a good reputation; having a site which loads quickly, is no good if it doesn’t load correctly. By testing and monitoring the site regularly, retailers can better understand the experience they offer to potential customers, as well as identify any problems before they negatively impact the consumer. The issues Office faced with the third party tag, for example, could perhaps have been resolved much sooner.

Essentially, customer experience is critical to sales online and at no time is this more important than when traffic is high and deals are plentiful, such as in the January sales.


About the author

Robert Castley is performance management expert at Keynote.

Robert Castley has been a solutions consultant at internet testing and monitoring specialist Keynote, for over three years. Prior to working at Keynote, Robert worked as a Professional Services Consultant at a document management company, Macro 4, where he worked on developing custom web interfaces. He regularly engages with customers and has an in-depth technical knowledge in web development. One of his proudest achievements is developing one of the world’s most popular Open Source Content Management Systems to the masses – Mambo, which now lives on as Joomla!

Robert is an authoritative spokesperson on web performance and regularly participates in industry events on the topic. Robert is passionate about the need to provide the optimum experience for internet users, irrelevant of the device they are using. He advocates a ‘three screen approach’ that provides a consistent experience whether a website is being accessed via mobile, tablet or desktop computer.

About the company

Keynote Systems is the global leader in Internet and mobile cloud monitoring. It provides companies with solutions for continuously improving the online experience. Founded in 1995, Keynote provides testing, monitoring and measurement products and services for any enterprise including online portals, e-commerce sites, B2B sites, mobile operators and mobile infrastructure providers. Keynote products and services help companies improve customer experience in four areas: Web performance, mobile quality, streaming and real user experience testing.


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