Twelve seconds used to be the average acceptable load time of a website a few years back. Now that is down to 6-10 seconds and very soon users may not be prepared to wait more than two, according to Wayne Ju, Greater China director at the Asia-Pacific unit of Nasdaq-listed Compuware Corp.
Internet surfers have become more impatient and demanding as they have grown used to transferring their money, booking tickets or shopping online. Alibaba’s one-day sales of 35 billion yuan (US$5.7 billion) during its Nov. 11 “Singles Day” promotion gives just an idea of how big the market already is.
Companies hoping to get into or stay in the act will have to ensure that their sites are available around the clock and upload just as quickly as their rivals, even when incoming traffic fluctuates wildly during the day. Otherwise, alternatives are just a click away.
Quick feedback to customers’ online requests is therefore crucial to gaining or losing patronage and, consequently, the well-being of an e-business.
With transaction volume surging and customers’ expectations rising, demand is growing for technology to make sure online shoppers are happy. And that’s where companies like Compuware come into the picture.
“Response time is the No. 1 issue in boosting customer experience,” Ju said.
The technology can, for instance, create graphic reports to show how quickly an airline’s websites around the world respond to requests and whether those times are within acceptable limits.
Ju said that 80 percent of the time taken up dealing with a problem such as a frozen page, high bounce rates or a failed transaction is usually spent on identifying the issue. By instantly displaying the time spent in each part of the long internet communication chain, including cloud services and data centers, companies get to see where the problem area could be and fix their sites quickly when there is a hiccup.
Ju is optimistic about the business, given the rapid growth in e-commerce in Greater China. Compuware booked revenue slightly short of US$1 billion for the year ended March 2013. Dell, New Relic, AppDynamics, CA Technologies, Service Trace are other active players in the field.
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