RSR Analyst: Many Sites Still ‘Abnormally Slow’ Ahead Of Holiday Rush

Industry predictions forecast that e-Commerce sales may rise between 14% and 18% this holiday season, with mobile playing a greater role than ever in consumers’ browsing and buying process. Although the signs point to a jolly holiday for retailers, inconsistent site performance and reliability may hurt their revenue potential, according to Steve Rowen, Managing Partner at Retail Systems Research (RSR). 

In fact, based on annual research RSR conducts in partnership with YOTTAA, site performance scores are consistently decreasing. It’s not that retail executives are failing to prioritizesite performance in the boardroom and in their annual plans. Rather, they’re adding so many third-party applications to enrich the online shopping experience that, too often,the result is slow load times.

“Retailers are adding so many third parties that, as consumers, we love engaging with,” Rowen said during an episode of the Holiday Insights Series podcast. “But the execution is really lacking because these added features have a significant impact on performance.” 


Third-party applications aren’t the only culprit, however. In their research, RSR has uncovered inconsistencies and even flaws in retailers’ site testing approaches. For instance, Rowen noted that inconsistent load times and experience variations between desktops, laptops and mobile devices prove that retailers aren’t shopping their own sites. In an era when “leap frogging” across devices is common, and during a holiday season where mobile sales are expected to increase “significantly,” Rowen emphasized the importance of “holistic preparation.”

Retailers also should rethink the data they use to set benchmarks, according to Rowen. “What’s really problematic is [retailers are] using previous years’ traffic alone to gauge site readiness. There is an error in calculation.” Although Rowen did note that retailers shouldn’t conduct stringenttests so close to the holiday season, now is the time to listen, observe and set a strategy in place.

To hear more of Rowen’s perspectives on the holiday season, e-Commerce readiness and how your organization can improve its approach in 2020, listen to the podcast now.

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