Crate and Barrel Web Performance Improvements

Performance & Operations

Crate and Barrel joins The Home Depot and Le Monde in the elite group of companies that is actively working on improving web performance, to provide better end user experience and ultimately, improve their bottom line.

Back in 2011, we compared the website performance of the top Internet Retailer websites during the shopping season. Crate and Barrel did not do well in the study but instead of being angry at us, they called me and we had an amazing discussion about what went wrong.

This past week, I received another call from the Crate and Barrel team. “Hey Mehdi, we have been working on our performance and wanted to get your feedback!” I was shocked by the changes they had implemented. As I was charting their data for the last 6 months the first word that came to mind was “Beautiful”.

After the close of the holiday season, the Business and IT team at Crate and Barrel decided to make web performance a key priority for 2012 and I believe they are going to do very well this year.

Without any further interruptions here are the results:

  • The time to Document Complete (or onload) improved by more than 49%
  • The Total Page Load time improved by more than 39%

Here are performance measurements before and after the “Perflift” from 10 US nodes since Nov 2011.

Crate & Barrel Historical Web Performance Data
Crate & Barrel Historical Web Performance Data

I picked a few dates to highlight the improvements:

Crate & Barrel Web Performance Improvments
Document Complete and Web Page Response

From a WPO (Web Performance Optimization) perspective the engineering team did a fantastic job at:

  • Combining images with CSS sprites
  • Reducing the number of third party tags, and loading the tags after document complete.
  • Adding proper expiration headers to assets
  • Relying on “Text” in place of images when possible
  • Minification of JS and CSS files
Crate and Barrel Web Performance Optimization
Crate and Barrel Web Performance Optimization

The total downloaded bytes was cut in half:

Crate and Barrel WPO Downloaded Bytes
Crate and Barrel WPO Downloaded Bytes
Crate and Barrel WPO Content Changes
Crate and Barrel WPO Content Changes

I hear that the team is not done yet! I look forward to Crate and Barrel ranking very high in 2012 Shopping Season.

Congratulations to the entire Crate and Barrel Team for pulling off this “Perflift” (think Facelift, a rejuvenating SPA for website) successfully! Companies from around the world should take a close look and learn from Crate and Barrel, Le Monde and The Home Depot.

Mehdi – Catchpoint

Note: Crate and Barrel is a not a Catchpoint client.

Published on
May 08, 2012
updated on
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