October 18, 2006 at 08:01 AM EDT
Keynote Announces New Web Transaction Performance Indices for Online Retailers -- Indices Include 24 Leading Sites in Three Categories: Apparel, Books & Music, Electronics

Keynote Competitive Research, the industry analysis group of Keynote Systems (Nasdaq:KEYN), announced today the new Keynote Online Retail Transaction Performance Indices. The new indices track the speed and reliability from the end user perspective of 24 leading online retail sites across three categories: apparel, books & music, electronics.

The three indices replace Keynotes single e-commerce index retired several months ago and provide the market with a deeper, more comprehensive window into the technical performance of online retailing today. With the online retailing market expected to reach $108.5 billion in the U.S. in 2006 (according to eMarketer), the indices better reflect the industrys increasing breadth and importance to the overall U.S. economy. The new retail indices provide the industry and individual retailers with an ideal set of internal and external performance benchmarks with which to judge online success.

The aggregated results of the new indices will be available each Tuesday on Keynotes Web site at http://www.keynote.com/solutions/performance_indices/retail/ retail.html (Due to its length, this URL may need to be copied/pasted into your Internet browser's address field. Remove the extra space if one exists.) and on the site of its publishing partner, E-Commerce Times®, at http://www.ecommercetimes.com/web-performance/.

The E-Commerce Times is pleased to host Keynotes new Online Retail Transaction Performance Indices, said Ric Kern, publisher at E-Commerce Times. Web site performance is vital to the success of a companys online sales and the leading e-commerce retailers being monitored by Keynote must do everything they can to ensure their sites are operating at a maximum level of performance 24/7.

Kern continued, We believe the ultimate result of online retailers competing for the top spots on Keynotes performance rankings will be an overall improvement in the consumers online experience. As we begin the fourth consecutive year of publishing Keynotes Web Transaction results, the E-Commerce Times is looking forward to seeing even greater benefits to the online consumer from this initiative.

The new retail indices, including all data points captured by Keynote, are available for purchase, both in bulk form and in a management level report (prices begin at $3,000 per month per index).

Keynote has found from examining the preliminary data that there is still a large gap between the best in class sites (sites who do well in both overall performance and overall availability) and those who need to improve to provide the best possible experience for their customers, said Ben Rushlo, senior manager, competitive research with Keynote. The Electronics sites seem to do especially well in overall availability, while more of the Apparel sites struggle in this metric. Many of the errors captured in the preliminary data are with the search process or with adding the product to the cart. This illustrates the need for a multi-step transactional index as opposed to simply measuring the sites Home Page a page that typically is highly available.

Especially critical is the number of Outage Hours. This new metric, now included as part of Keynotes transaction indices, indicates that during the hour a significant number of users (from various geographic locations) were unable to complete the measured path shopping and adding a product to the cart, said Rushlo. Ideally a site should have not a single outage during the week and many of the sites do achieve this goal. Other sites, however, consistently struggle to not have at least one major negative event during the week.

Rushlo completed his top level analysis by saying, Performance was the best for the Electronics sites and the poorest for the Books & Music sites in general. The overall performance metrics are a summation of the total download time of all the pages measured on the site. It is equally important to understand the variation in performance both over the day, which indicates the sites ability to handle load, and over the week, which is a good marker for overall site health and this data is available for purchase as part of the index product.

Here are initial results for The Keynote Online Retail Transaction Indices (Apparel, Books & Music, Electronics):

Rank By SpeedRank By Reliability
RankTargetResponse Time (sec)RankTargetSuccess Rate (%)Outage Hours
Zappos 3.83  Zappos 99.87 
JC Penney 4.49  JC Penney 99.74 
Kohl's 4.87  Banana Republic 99.37 
Macy's 5.14  Nordstrom 98.39 
Banana Republic 8.29  Macy's 97.99 
Index8.29 Eddie Bauer 97.99 
Neiman Marcus 8.89  Kohl's 97.97 
Eddie Bauer 9.96  Index97.94
Nordstrom 9.99  Neiman Marcus 95.16 
Gap 10.24  Gap 95.11 

Source: Keynote Systems, Inc.

Rank By Speed

Rank By Reliability
RankTargetResponse Time (sec)RankTargetSuccess Rate (%)Outage Hours
Wal-Mart 4.19  Barnes and Noble 99.87 
Barnes and Noble 5.71  Wal-Mart 99.83 
Overstock.com 6.04  Target 99.25 
Target 8.00  Amazon.com 99.11 
Index8.50 Borders 99.11 
Buy.com 9.00  Index98.600
Borders 9.91  Overstock.com 97.30 
Amazon.com 10.82  Tower Records 97.20 
Tower Records 10.90  Buy.com 96.48 

Source: Keynote Systems, Inc.

Rank By SpeedRank By Reliability
RankTargetResponse Time (sec)RankTargetSuccess Rate (%)Outage Hours
Office Depot 3.96  CDW 100.00 
Staples 3.99  Circuit City 100.00 
Wal-Mart 4.14  Staples 100.00 
Circuit City 4.36  Amazon.com 99.49 
Best Buy 5.55  Wal-Mart 99.49 
Index5.63 Dell 99.36 
Overstock.com 5.71  Overstock.com 99.11 
Dell 7.03  Index98.85
CDW 9.18  Office Depot 97.86 
Buy.com 9.86  Buy.com 96.19 
10  Amazon.com 12.02  10  Best Buy 96.07 

Source: Keynote Systems, Inc.

(NOTE: In some cases a site appears on two indices. In those cases there are two transactions being measured, each appropriate to the index category.)

To create Keynotes Online Retail Transaction Indices the companys measurement computers in 10 cities around the U.S. click through the same steps an actual person might perform:

  • Entering the particular URL of the retail site they wish to visit
  • Search for a product
  • Filter by category
  • Drill into the product detail
  • Add the product to the cart

Keynote has historically seen an improvement in overall performance results, over time, whenever it has launched a new industry-based Web transaction performance index. The goals of the indices are to help online retailers measure and manage the performance of their Web sites and optimize the experience of people purchasing retail products online.

The Keynote Online Retail Transaction Performance Indices are designed to reflect the speed and reliability of the most well-known retail sites with a large online presence. Going beyond home page performance, the retail transaction indices provide deep insight into the performance of these high traffic retailer Web sites.

About Keynotes Web Performance Indices

Keynote pioneered the development of Web performance indices for benchmarking purposes over 10 years ago and remains the leader in Web performance solutions for improving online business. The companys initial indices measured single page performance only. The company expanded its footprint in Web performance indices with the creation of indices across a range of industries that measured the performance of an entire Web transaction from the end user perspective.

The data used to produce its indices for a given week are taken from actual online transactions Keynotes automated measurement computers execute and measure from the ten largest U.S. metropolitan areas (Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.) on an hourly basis Monday to Sunday from 8:00 a.m. to midnight eastern time.

Keynote already offers market-leading Web transaction indices for the online broker, banking and credit card industries as well as its flagship Keynote Business 40 Web Performance Index.

Sites on the apparel index include: Banana Republic (Gap Inc., (NYSE:GPS)); Eddie Bauer (Nasdaq:EBHI); Gap (NYSE:GPS); JC Penney (NYSE:JCP); Kohls (NYSE:KSS); Macys (Federated Department Stores, (NYSE:FD)); Neiman Marcus; Nordstrom (NYSE:JWN); Saks Fifth Avenue (NYSE:SKS); Zappos.

Sites on the books & music index include: Amazon.com (Nasdaq:AMZN); Barnes & Noble (NYSE:BKS); Borders (NYSE:BGP); Buy.com; Overstock.com (Nasdaq:OSTK); Target (NYSE:TGT); Tower Records; Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT).

Sites on the electronics index include: Amazon.com (Nasdaq:AMZN); Best Buy (NYSE:BBY); Buy.com; CDW (Nasdaq:CDWC); Circuit City (NYSE:CC); Dell (Nasdaq:DELL); Office Depot (NYSE:ODP); Overstock.com (Nasdaq:OSTK); Staples (Nasdaq:SPLS); Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT).

More detailed information regarding the methodology behind Keynotes Web performance indices can be found at: http://www.keynote.com/solutions/performance_indices/retail/ retail.html (Due to its length, this URL may need to be copied/pasted into your Internet browser's address field. Remove the extra space if one exists.)

Retail index FAQ: http://www.keynote.com/solutions/performance_indices/retail/retail_ faq.html (Due to its length, this URL may need to be copied/pasted into your Internet browser's address field. Remove the extra space if one exists.)

For general information on Keynotes performance indices view: http://www.keynote.com/solutions/mm_public_services.html

About Keynote Competitive Research

Keynote Competitive Research is the industry analysis group within Keynote that produces Web performance indices and ranking studies of Web site performance in the areas of service levels (responsiveness/reliability), customer experience and best practices implementation. The studies produced are all available for purchase.

Keynote Competitive Research provides deep insights into an industrys online best practices and how a particular Web sites customer experiences and performance levels compare to key competitors. Keynote uses the worlds largest Internet test & measurement network and one of the most representative panels of Internet users to deliver data and insights on the end user experience. Keynote Competitive Research provides an online business with an in-depth understanding of its customers, competitors and markets. It helps an online business to determine the best strategies for gaining a competitive edge and accomplishing business goals.

About Keynote

Keynote Systems (Nasdaq:KEYN) is the global test and measurement company for mobile communications and online business performance. 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, we have 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, our 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, Keynote has a market-leading infrastructure of 2,400 measurement computers and mobile devices in over 240 geographic locations around the world. Keynote also maintains one of the most representative panels of online users consisting of 160,000 consumers. Our on-demand, hassle-free infrastructure allows business to access services they need, when they need them to pinpoint and fix mobile quality and Internet problems before they impact customers.

We help over 2,600 corporate customers become "the best of the best" by helping them improve online business performance and mobile communications quality. Our customers represent top Internet and mobile companies including American Express, BP, Caterpillar, Dell, Disney, eBay, ESPN Mobile, E*TRADE, Expedia, FedEx, Microsoft, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon and Vodafone.

Keynote Systems, Inc. is headquartered in San Mateo, California, and can be reached at www.keynote.com or by travel in the U.S. at (650) 403-2400.

Keynote, The Internet Performance Authority and Perspective are registered trademarks and The Mobile and Internet Performance Authority is a trademark of Keynote Systems, Inc. Other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. © 2006 Keynote Systems, Inc.

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