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The Retailer Web Performance Report Card: Macy's, Vistaprint and CDW

December 17, 2012 By Greg Paul
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This month's Retailer Web Performance Report Card, a monthly ROI Report column by SmartBear Software, features retailers trying to capture as much holiday revenue as possible before Christmas. Through SmartBear's AlertSite, we see how online retailers’ websites perform from the end user perspective. We've picked three retailers to spotlight in December, measuring them against the critical benchmark trends in web performance — stability (standard deviation), availability and response times — to see how they're performing in the homestretch of the holiday shopping season.

Among the top 50 retailers for which we ran statistics for the first half of December, the benchmark average for response time to load the homepage was 4.5836 seconds. The average for website availability was 99.66 percent, and site stability or standard deviation was 4.7361 seconds. Of the three retailers being spotlighted this month, one really helped the averages (Macy's), another hovered near the averages (Vistaprint) and the third dipped well below the averages (CDW).

We accessed Macy's website 2,238 times this month from geographically dispersed locations across the country (see the chart below). The department store retailer saw a big improvement over last month, beefing up its online presence with vastly improved availability and stability. Macy's jumped to the No. 1 spot in availability at 100 percent, up a whopping 24 spots. In stability, it jumped from No. 20 to No. 5 with a stability of 2.1176 seconds. Macy's ranked No. 6 in response time at 2.4258 seconds, up from the No. 8 position.

Macy's web performance chart
[+] click to enlarge

Vistaprint was only average when it came to web performance last month, which is unfortunate as the brand relies solely on online traffic for revenue. A slight improvement over last month, Vistaprint's average load time was 4.2103 seconds, ranking it No. 21, up six spots from the previous month. The printed and promotional material retailer ranked No. 16 in stability at 3.8864 seconds, up from the No. 28 position. For availability, Vistaprint ended up in the No. 22 spot at 99.82 percent.

Our straggler so far this month is computer retailer CDW, which struggled with web performance issues the previous month as well. CDW ranked near the bottom in all categories. Availability was 97.56 percent, ranking No. 42, same as last month. The retailer's stability ranking (14.907 seconds) dropped all the way to No. 42 from No. 21 the previous month. Response time was 7.3382 seconds, ranking No.39, down eight spots from the previous month.


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