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Keynote Releases Study on Quality of 25+ Retail Web Sites Over the Course of the 2007 Holiday Season





SAN MATEO, Calif. (PRWEB) January 29, 2008

Keynote Competitive Research, the industry analysis group of Keynote Systems (Nasdaq:KEYN), today announced the release of the final results from its U.S. Holiday Impact Study, a Web site performance monitoring study that examines the technical performance and service levels of 26 leading retail Web sites over the course of the 2007 holiday season. At the opening of the season, Keynote identified performance troubles with many sites’ search and check-out processes. The complete study includes over 3,000 data points, enabling insight into the root causes of these challenges.




Keynote’s U.S. Holiday Impact Study examines site reliability and site responsiveness for leading sites across all major retail categories including sites such as Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, Best Buy, Home Depot, Target, Toys R Us and Wal-Mart. The unique data and insights uncovered by Keynote Competitive Research are acquired through the use of the company’s commercially available Web performance test and measurement products. The study is available for purchase from Keynote. For more information or details on purchasing the complete study, please view Keynote Competitive Research – Retail.

Cabelas, Victoria’s Secret and Best Buy Record the Best Service Levels

Cabelas, a sporting goods retailer, Barnes and Noble and Best Buy had the retail industry’s best reliability over the holiday season, an indication their sites were highly available and experienced little or no downtime over the 30 day study period. Victoria’s Secret, Circuit City and Cabelas had the industry’s best site responsiveness over the holiday season, an indication of how fast those sites were in downloading pages and completing transactions for consumers. Cabelas and Best Buy had the industry’s best overall service levels over the holiday season, ranking highly in terms of both site reliability and site responsiveness.

“From a Web performance perspective the biggest news out of the holiday season is the overall improvement in performance of sites across the retail industry as compared to last year,” said Ben Rushlo, senior consulting manager for Keynote’s competitive research group. “However, we still see a number of major retail brands with significant slowdowns and peak hour outages during this crucial season. That has a direct impact on online sales that can account for up to a third of overall holiday sales.”

Approximately up to 30% of all holiday shopping is done online, and that figure continues to increase, according to the National Retail Federation. Yet Keynote found that some of the leading retail sites showed up to 400% slow-downs during peak shopping days, a rate at which Keynote experts caution leads to consumer abandonment of a product search or check-out. On average, retailers experienced 5% to 10% slow-downs during peak holiday shopping periods, which would not significantly impact the consumer’s online experience or impede check-out.

The top seven performing sites in the study had over 99% availability over the course of the holiday season. However, the Keynote study revealed that, on average, retail sites experienced 7 hours of complete downtime during the holiday season, equivalent to a half-day’s sales. The worst performing sites, including some highly recognized retail brand names, experienced up to 20 hours of complete downtime, periods when no transactions could be completed, over the course of the 30 day holiday season. By contrast, the best performing sites, such as Cabelas and Best Buy, experienced either no downtime or downtimes of less than one to two hours.

The electronics and books and music retailers, in general, had the best technical quality performance; whereas the home improvement industry, which Keynote added to its study this year, showed the worst performance overall.

Background on the Keynote U.S. Holiday Impact Study

The Keynote U.S. Holiday Impact Study examined the technical performance of leading retail sites using Keynote’s Transaction Perspective(R) solution, a leading subscription-based service for measuring and monitoring Web site performance. Transaction Perspective mimics the actions of consumers and examines performance from multiple geographic locations, collecting more than 6,500 data points across 40+ metrics for each site to detail online technical performance. The study offers insight into technical performance relative to competitors, and provides detailed data on site performance across seven key measures critical to the operational health of an online business. The study was conducted over a 30 day period during the 2007 holiday season from Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, often regarded as one of the busiest shopping days of the year, through Christmas.

Retail Web Sites Included in the Keynote US Holiday Study

Retail sites included in the Keynote US Holiday Study were: Amazon.com (Nasdaq:AMZN); Barnes & Noble (NYSE:BKS); Best Buy (NYSE:BBY); Buy.com Borders (NYSE:BGP); Buy.com; Circuit City (NYSE: CC); Dell (Nasdaq:DELL); Office Depot (NYSE:ODP); OfficeMax (NYSE:OMX); Overstock.com (Nasdaq:OSTK); Staples (Nasdaq:SPLS); Toys R Us (NYSE:XKE); Target (NYSE:TGT); and Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT).

About Keynote

Keynote Systems (Nasdaq “KEYN”) is the global leader in on-demand test & measurement solutions for continuously improving the online experience. As an independent and trusted third-party, Keynote provides IT and marketing executives with an unbiased view into their Internet services from around the world. For over a decade, Keynote has been providing measurement data and testing capabilities that allow companies to understand and improve their customers’ online and mobile experience. Keynote has four test and measurement businesses: Web performance, mobile quality, streaming & VoIP, and customer experience/UX. In addition, Keynote’s industry analysis group called Keynote Competitive Research publishes proprietary studies measuring customer experience and service levels across a wide range of industries.

Known as The Mobile and Internet Performance Authority(TM), Keynote has a market-leading infrastructure of 2,400 measurement computers and mobile devices in over 240 locations around the world. Keynote also maintains one of the most representative panels of online users consisting of 160,000 consumers. Keynote’s on-demand, hassle-free infrastructure allows businesses to access services they need, when they need them to pinpoint and fix mobile quality and Internet problems before they impact customers.

Keynote helps over 2,700 corporate customers become “the best of the best” by helping them improve online business performance and mobile communications quality. Keynote’s customers represent top Internet and mobile companies including American Express, BP, Caterpillar, Dell, Disney, eBay, ESPN Mobile, E







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