Amazon.com Inc.’s website was not flawless during Prime Day 2019, but the ecommerce giant avoided a repeat of the widespread technical issues that plagued it during 2018’s Prime Day.
“This year, it has been smooth so far,” says Mehdi Daoudi, CEO of digital performance analytics company Catchpoint Systems Inc.
Amazon’s desktop webpage load time held steady at 2.4 seconds over a 48-hours period ending 12:30 p.m. Eastern Time on July 16, according to Catchpoint data. That’s better than the average load time of 2.5 seconds measured during the week leading up to Prime Day. Load time is the time it takes for a page to load the data required for a user to start using the page.
Some major retailers—including Walmart Inc. (No. 3 in the Internet Retailer 2019 Top 1000), Best Buy Co. Inc. (No. 13), Target Corp. (No. 16) and online marketplace eBay Inc.—are holding competing sales during Prime Day. All four of those websites also maintained performance without significant hiccups, Catchpoint reported. EBay had the fastest load times of the group, at 1.68 seconds for the 48 hours and 1.61 seconds for the week leading up to Prime Day.
Catchpoint monitors each website’s homepage and multi-step transactions and takes measurements from in-country or in-region monitoring nodes. Backbone monitoring nodes are the locations of Catchpoint’s devices near data centers operated by the main internet service providers that provide service to a city. The nodes simulate end-user contact with each website.
On Monday, some Amazon.com users reported some difficulties putting items into their online shopping cart, but Amazon fixed the problem within a few minutes, Daoudi says. He says the relatively good performance shows Amazon implemented lessons it learned in 2018.
But not everyone thought Amazon’s web performance on Prime Day 2019 was laudable. Customers who encountered problems might shop at Amazon less in the future, says Tim de Paris, chief technology officer at digital experience firm Decibel Insight Inc. Amazon faces new competition during Prime Day—all of whom offer good deals. That competition makes it vital for Amazon to deliver excellent experiences to consumers, he says.
“In 2019, experience is the leading brand differentiator, ahead of product and price, and I expect that trend to continue. The seemingly minor technical problem could be the single frustration that pushes customers to choose a different ecommerce site to shop on,” de Paris says. That would erode the brand loyalty of Amazon shoppers, he says, resulting in lost sales.
“It was broadly expected that Amazon had learned its lesson after the last crash and would put technical support in place to avoid the same fate in 2019. But the retail giant has failed to do so. Now, Amazon must consider how to provide an exceptional experience to win back customers,” de Paris says.