European E-commerce Sites Poorly Prepared for Christmas Rush

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According to WatchMouse, a site monitoring service provider, European e-commerce sites have made only minimal preparations for the increased number of visitors in December. - Comparison with US "role models" Amazon and Barnes & Noble

Many European e-commerce sites have made only minimal preparations for the increased number of visitors in December. The congestion caused by Christmas meant that, on average, only one in six web sites was continuously available. This was the conclusion of WatchMouse, a Dutch monitoring service provider, following a survey of over 50 European e-commerce sites. Excessive interest from customers can overload the server or have dramatic effect on response times.

During the past month, WatchMouse – at its own initiative – closely monitored over 50 web sites where consumers can shop online. The survey shows that the availability varied from 98% to 99.6%. "This may seem high, but a score of 98% means that a site is not available for half an hour per day. This makes 14 hours a month, or a week a year", says Mark Pors, one of the founders of WatchMouse.

As a comparison to the US market, two "role models of e-commerce" - amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com - were monitored during the same period. Amazon performed similar as an average European web shop, Barns & Noble outperformed most e-commerce sites with an uptime of 100%.

As a comparison to the US market, two "role models of e-commerce" - amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com - were monitored during the same period. Amazon's performance was similar to that of the average European web shop, whereas Barnes & Noble outperformed most e-commerce sites with an uptime of 100%.

The consequences of downtime are reflected not only in loss of income. Pors: "A website that is not available can cause stacks of work for your helpdesk and, at the end of the day, damage your brand. The problem is that many website owners are unaware that sites are responding poorly, or not responding at all. If they were aware of this, taking action to intervene is simplicity itself: for example, by adding extra server capacity."

WatchMouse has concluded from its survey that more than 70% of the web sites have not achieved optimum accessibility. Given the increasing trend in online purchases, gigantic sums are involved: Online sales will increase by 44% to €13 billion ($17 billion) in Western Europe over the holidays period, compared to €10 billion ($13 billion) in the US (Forrester Research, November 2004).

December is a top month for purchasing on the internet. Pors: "We see response times and the number of error reports increase dramatically in the days leading up to Christmas."

About WatchMouse

Companies can easily monitor their internet sites themselves, thanks to WatchMouse’s monitoring service. WatchMouse has been monitoring internet sites and e-commerce applications for companies across the globe since 2001. WatchMouse has thousands of customers in more than 70 countries. WatchMouse services are available in seven languages, and analyses are carried out through the world-wide monitoring network from a range of locations and networks.

More information: http://www.watchmouse.com/

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Mark Pors
WATCHMOUSE
+31 30 2722085
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