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BizReport : : November 14, 2012

45% of major U.S. retailers have uptime below industry standard

Almost half of major U.S. retailer websites suffered downtime in the first eight months of 2012, according to new analysis carried out by website availability monitoring firm Panopta, a situation that could cause chaos and lack of sales during the holiday shopping season.

by Helen Leggatt

panopta-logo.pngPanopta's monitoring of 130 of the U.S.'s major retailers' websites, from January through to August this year, found that 45% had uptime that fell below the 99.9% industry standard. (Panopta excluded downtime between the hours of 1am and 6am to factor in scheduled maintenance downtimes).

Of the major retailers that performed poorly during the analysis period, Gamefly, Blockbuster, Home Depot, Sears, Fossil and J&R were among the worst.

However, a number of major brands registered no downtime at all, including American Eagle, Bloomingdale's, Ikea, Overstock and Sam's Club.

"Many factors can cause an outage, but most are preventable," says Jason Abate, CEO and Founder of Panopta. "Downtime in a high traffic period like the holiday shopping season can be catastrophic to a company. When a site isn't available, consumers often buy elsewhere leaving the door open for a competitor and hurting the good will a brand has worked hard to establish with customers."

Downtime doesn't just affect consumer access and sales, it can also damage ranking on search engines, says Panopta. Social media also plays a part with frustrated customers sharing their experience of an offline website.

To minimize disruption during the busy holiday shopping period, Panopta advises that retailers complete any scheduled maintenance now, and those brands who have already struggled with downtime to address those problems before the Christmas onslaught moves into top gear.

Tags: downtime, holiday 2012 trends, holiday shopping, uptime, website maintenance, website testing

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