E-Tailers Listen Better with People, Worse with Servers

By Evan Schuman  |  Posted 2006-08-21 Email Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Two new reports show that retailers are getting better at answering customers' e-mail, but this summer's load handling statistics predict a very crashy Christmas.

Two new reports show that retailers are getting better at answer customers' e-mail, but this summer's load handling statistics predict a very crashy Christmas.

If these two new surveys are correct, top retailers have figured out how to communicate better with customers, but their servers are getting a lot worse at talking with other servers.

That second warning about load handling—from Amherst, N.Y.-based Web traffic monitoring firm Keynote Systems—is ominous as retailers prepare to head into the traffic-intensive holiday season.

"Given that this is the summertime and that they're going to receive four times the load in a few months," there is a strong concern that many top e-commerce sites are not prepared to handle this year's fourth quarter, said Dan Berkowitz, a Keynote senior director of corporate communications.

Added Ben Rushlo, Keynote's senior manager of professional services: "If these sites are already struggling, then that's a major concern." Rushlo said apparel retailers showed some of the weakest load handling.

A small part of the reason behind those load balancing problems is constantly increasing traffic and whether equipment upgrades and additions have kept up—Rushlo reported more major e-commerce site outages in 2006 compared with 2005—but a more significant issue is increasing site sophistication.

As retailers add to their sites more advanced services—such as push to talk and multimedia demonstrations—it is causing more drag on their systems than they might realize.

"As companies have been putting more fancy stuff on their site, people are perhaps not really counting on the fact that you can really slow down your site," Berkowitz said, adding that the retail sector that seems to have handled load issues the best has been financial services.

Read the full story on eWEEK.com: E-Tailers Listen Better with People, Worse with Servers



 
 
 
 
Evan Schuman is the editor of CIOInsight.com's Retail industry center. He has covered retail technology issues since 1988 for Ziff-Davis, CMP Media, IDG, Penton, Lebhar-Friedman, VNU, BusinessWeek, Business 2.0 and United Press International, among others. He can be reached by e-mail at Evan.Schuman@ziffdavisenterprise.com.
 
 
 
 
 
 

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