Internet Retailer Conference annual event: Who had the fastest web site at Internet Retailer 2012?

Recently, at the Internet Retailer Conference and Exhibition annual event at McCormick Place West in Chicago had record number of attendees with more than 8,600 in attendance over the four-day event including 564 companies exhibiting e-commerce technologies and services.

This year’s event was focused on “Connecting with the 21st Century Consumer.” A description from the event brochure stated, ‘It was not long ago that having a decently performing retail web site was cool. No more. Today there a millions of e-commerce sites and the competition between them is fierce.

So fierce, in fact, that e-retailers can no longer succeed simply by keeping up with the pack. Growth comes by outperforming your competition and the surest way of doing that is by understanding who are the frequent web shoppers, what they demand from online stores, and how best to reach and serve them.’

To help attendees understand their site’s performance, we ran the “Gomez Challenge” where attendees provided their website URL to have the site’s performance measured in real-time and compared to other participants taking part in the challenge during the event.

The Gomez Challenge is a set of tests that provide event participants – whether performance focused or just beginning to learn about it – valuable insight into how both market leaders and smaller companies sites are performing and context for discussions between IT and business site stakeholders on how to balance user experience with site speed.

Over the four-day event, we ran home page tests of participant’s web site performance from multiple geographic locations looking at webpage response time, number of connections, hosts, objects, and page size to provide insight into how each site is performing.

Using a series of waterfall charts and other diagnostics tools built into the Gomez Challenge, the test also provided participants with immediate suggestions for optimizing performance.

The Gomez Challenge results are presented on a scoreboard that lists each participant along with their results across the following page load thresholds:

  • Green = less than 2 seconds, good customer experiences
  • Yellow = between 2.1 and 5 seconds, considered to be customer impacting
  • Red = more than 5 seconds, critical issues and very customer impacting

The winner of the Gomez Challenge had the the fastest average response time during the event across multiple geographies. This year’s challenge winner was Belk.com, the nation’s largest privately owned mainline department store company with 303 Belk stores located in 16 Southern states – congratulations!

Check out your own website with a free test with the Gomez Website Performance Test. You can also find out how your website performs across browsers, compared to your competitors and on mobile applications here.