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What Performance Means to the Bottom Line

In a 2012 research project done at Walmart, the IT team found a clear correlation between site performance and conversion rate.

Overall, converted shoppers received pages that loaded 2X faster than non-converted shoppers. For every 1 second of improvement in performance they experienced up to a 2% increase in conversions.*

Use Case: E-Commerce


For Online Retailers, Timing Is Everything

Studies show that better performing sites do more business as consumers navigate away from slow sites, or those with missing links or broken pages. For an e-commerce company's IT team, the time and effort spent ensuring a quality customer experience can really payoff in the company's overall shopper conversion rates.

Use Case Details

In our use case, an online home furnishing store is experiencing problems with its customer checkout procedure. Customers can browse the site and add items to their cart, but when they are ready to check out they experience delays during the process or it fails completely. For our online home furnishing store this means lost revenue. Let's see if AlertFox can help.


Some Elements are Slow, and Checkout is Down

AlertFox can monitor all the resources a customer can touch on your e-commerce site, such as using the payment gateway, the design tool (for our home furnishings company), or checking item availability.

In our use case, we can see that several monitored resources are slow, such as search and ajax forms, however only checkout seems to be failing. It's interesting to note that the payment gateway is working fine, so our problem rests solely with our monitored checkout process. Let's dig deeper and see what AlertFox can tell us.


Uptime and Performance

A quick look at the e-commerce's site uptime and availability report shows no problems. With AlertFox, we can view this data in near real-time, as well as with historical reports. To replicate the end user experience, all uptime and performance tests (we call them sensors) are run from multiple monitoring locations in Europe, the United States, and Asia. Next, let's take a look at the actual transaction detail.


Step by Step with the Multi-Step Transaction Report

The checkout process for the e-commerce site involves multiple steps. With AlertFox, you can create a sensor that replicates the complete process as your customer would experience it. Looking at the multi-step graph, we can see that something went wrong with the checkout process in the early morning of October 22nd. Perhaps an update was made to the site? Other possible explanations include high traffic on the site, a database performance issue, or maybe even a slow call to 3rd party e-commerce backend was responsible.


What does a waterfall diagram show?

Waterfall diagrams show the response time for each resource in a webpage, essentially the series of actions that occur between a customer and your server, as they interact with a specific page on your website.This data is visualized cumulatively and sequentially across a process.

Waterfall diagrams can look a little odd and even confusing, at first. What's important to know is that each row represents a different object, such as text, an image, or a Javascript file, on a particular web page. According to a 2013 survey done on the top 500 websites, the median web page size is 1095KB and contains 91 resources (images, JavaScript, CSS files, etc) and each of these objects makes its own roundtrip between the server and the browser.

For an IT team, a waterfall diagram can help simplify troubleshooting by clearly showing what's taking the most time in the overall process.

* Real User Monitoring at Walmart Presented by Cliff Crocker, Aaron Kulick, and Balaji Ram joined forces at February’s San Francisco's Web Performance Meetup,