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Web Performance is a Journey, Not a Destination

Mehdi Daoudi

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Poor Web Performance Hampers Walmart, Lowe’s Shoppers

Walmart and Lowe’s online shoppers encountered slow performance and timeouts today that prevented many from finding products or completing purchases. In addition to frustrating customers, these issues are likely to significantly impact the companies’ web sales.

The Lowe’s problem affected the site’s product search for a number of categories, including lamps and grills. The issue began late on Thursday, 28 April and continued to hamper searches on Friday afternoon, 29 April. Shoppers looking for these items eventually saw 303 redirect error messages (see below).Catchpoint: Lowes product searches produced 303 errors

After investigating the cause, Catchpoint found that the Lowes.com search results page was taking longer than a minute to load for mobile site users (see below). Desktop users also encountered the same problem.Catchpoint: Lowes Product Search timed out on 29 April 2016

 

Meanwhile Walmart’s performance issue lasted only two hours, and occurred in the early morning of Friday, 29 April. Catchpoint explored the issue and identified the culprit: very large images on the site’s product detail page, which bloated the total page weight to roughly 29 mb. Looking even more closely, the root cause appeared to be human error: someone selected .tiff files, which are vastly bigger than the site’s standard .jpg images. At its peak the page’s total downloaded bytes reached 59 mb, stalling shoppers and potentially reducing revenues for the day.Catchpoint: Walmart web performance slowed by large images

Issues like these, especially when they affect only a subset of users, can be difficult to detect – but they can cause immediate and lasting damage to customer loyalty and brand reputation. Synthetic testing located the sources of both issues, which means that active monitoring could have found and possibly preempted them before they frustrated real shoppers. These examples also demonstrate that sophisticated, global brands are far from immune to web performance lapses and process breakdowns that impact the end-user experience.

The post Poor Web Performance Hampers Walmart, Lowe’s Shoppers appeared first on Catchpoint's Blog.

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Catchpoint radically transforms the way businesses manage, monitor, and test the performance of online applications. Truly understand and improve user experience with clear visibility into complex, distributed online systems.

Founded in 2008 by four DoubleClick / Google executives with a passion for speed, reliability and overall better online experiences, Catchpoint has now become the most innovative provider of web performance testing and monitoring solutions. We are a team with expertise in designing, building, operating, scaling and monitoring highly transactional Internet services used by thousands of companies and impacting the experience of millions of users. Catchpoint is funded by top-tier venture capital firm, Battery Ventures, which has invested in category leaders such as Akamai, Omniture (Adobe Systems), Optimizely, Tealium, BazaarVoice, Marketo and many more.