Visitor Monitoring Karmaloop | Keynote
Case Study


Keynote LoadPro helps sail through the holiday season.

Impact Highlights:

  • was straining to keep up with dramatic increases in customer traffic
  • Keynote LoadPro helped Karmaloop diagnose performance issues on the
  • eCommerce site before they could impact customers resulting in a successful holiday season
  • Karmaloop will use Keynote LoadPro for QA testing as it reengineers its site for long-term growth

The Company:

Located in Downtown Boston, Massachusetts, Karmaloop is an online retailer of name-brand underground streetwear and fashion. Karmaloop’s website sells more than 450 clothing brands from around the world.

The Challenge: Dramatic Growth

Karmaloop long relied on word-of-mouth marketing. But recently, the company began marketing more aggressively and has been growing rapidly ever since. Despite the lingering effects of the recession, traffic on the site grew 40% over the previous year, accelerating to a rate of 50-70%.

Karmaloop’s existing web infrastructure was straining to handle the increasing traffic load. Although the company knew that in the long-term, it needed to reengineer its infrastructure to handle growth, Karmaloop first had to make it through the upcoming holiday season by optimizing its existing infrastructure.

Karmaloop turned to Keynote’s LoadPro comprehensive load testing services to diagnose how well its server was handling site traffic and working with its Content Delivery Network. As Joseph Finsterwald, chief technology officer at Karmaloop explained, “We had been using a different solution for load testing, but because we had to configure it ourselves, it had become a project that took us away from work on our own site. Keynote provided a complete service solution that helped us test all aspects of our site’s performance.”

The Solution: Keynote LoadPro

Keynote began the project by developing test scripts, based on its experience with other online retailers, that simulated customers performing typical transactions, such as browsing the site and adding items to the cart. During the testing period, the scripts sent 200 transactions per second from various sites in the U.S. and Canada to Karmaloop’s live server. The transactions were sent to a live server, rather than a QA server, to avoid the inevitable difficulties in replicating the site’s hardware configuration. As soon as performance began to degrade, the tests were stopped.

The tests were designed to uncover performance problems before they could impact users. Based on the findings, Keynote made a series of recommendations for optimizing server performance. After making the recommended changes, Karmaloop ran additional tests to make sure the performance issues had been addressed. Said Finsterwald, “Our site did well enough that we felt confident going into Black Friday and Cyber Monday that our service would deliver the necessary availability and performance. That wouldn’t have been the case had we not done the load testing.”

The Benefits: A Worry-Free Holiday Season

A site failure during the holiday season was simply not an option.

And as Finsterwald explained, “If the site was going to break, we knew it would do so at the worst possible time. Our site gets 40% of its revenue in Q4 and 25% of total annual traffic in the latter part of November and December. If the site were to go down during that period, people won’t receive their gifts in time for Christmas. We estimate that a failure would have cost at least $50,000 to $100,000 per hour of outage during peak traffic.”

Keynote LoadPro services gave Karmaloop peace-of-mind knowing that its site was ready for the heavy lifting it would require over the impending holiday season. Karmaloop also considers Keynote a partner as they improve their site going forward. Said Finsterwald, “We plan to use Keynote again for load testing our redesigned site. The data they provided was easy to understand. We value the continuity of working with a company that already understands our problems so there will be efficiencies. Plus, they’re really kool guys—we like working with them.”

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