EcommerceBytes-NewsFlash, Number 2896 - September 20, 2012     4 of 5

Marketplace Battle: eCrater Beats Amazon, eBay, Etsy in Speed

By David A. Utter

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State it however you wish, Internet users share a desire for instant gratification in the form of swiftly-delivered content. No retailer worth their balance sheets ever wants to risk a customer bailing out of a transaction due to a perception that an ecommerce site is going just too slow.

Canadian website optimization firm Strangeloop claims in their 2012 State of the Union report on ecommerce sites that the need for speed isn't being seen as readily as one might expect from well-known online brands. Their methodology consisted of using a third-party tool called WebPagetest to tax the top 2000 shopping sites according to ranking site

Hopping onto the front page of one of these sites sees a page load time average of ten seconds. For the top 100 shopping sites, look at a toe-tapping wait of 10.36 seconds on average, thanks to numerous resource requests going on behind the scenes.

I contacted Strangeloop about three prominent ecommerce marketplaces - Amazon, eBay, and Etsy. Both Amazon and Etsy earned places in Strangeloop's 2011 State of the Union top ten for load times. But a year made a difference:

Amazon: 4.27 seconds - that's up from 2.78 seconds in November 2011 - putting them in 21st place, down from 3rd place in both 2011 and 2010. Its fashion site came in 6th place this year.

Etsy: 3.71 seconds - that's up from 3.40 seconds in November 2011 - putting them in 12th place, down from 5th place last year.

eBay: 4.29 seconds - that's down from 4.32 seconds in November 2011 - putting them in 22nd place, up from 29th place last year.

Also notable was ecommerce platform eCrater, which came in at number 2 at 1.95 seconds, quite an improvement from last year's 6th place at 3.54 seconds.

The proliferation of content delivery networks doesn't appear to be making a significant difference, according to Strangeloop. They claim average page load times off a CDN took longer (by .34 of a second) than from sites not utilizing that technology.

One might consider such delays result from customer demand for features. The more a typical customer expects from entering an ecommerce experience, the more the site must deliver at page load. Careful consideration of site analytics to identify if visitors utilize added site features should help the online business determine if and when to make changes.

Load time occupies one of many places in the customer service experience. Its prominence at the entry to an ecommerce site does make it noticeable. As with all things internet-related, testing never stops at launch.

Download the full report on the Strangeloop Networks website.

About the Author
David A. Utter is a freelance writer based in Lexington, KY. Find him on LinkedIn.

About the author:

David A. Utter is a freelance writer based in Lexington, KY. He has covered technology topics from search to security to online business and has been quoted in places like ZDNet and BusinessWeek. He considers his appearance on NPR's "All Things Considered" with long-time host Robert Siegel a delightful highlight. Send your tips to and find him on Twitter @davidautter and on LinkedIn.

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