In the context of e-commerce, response time is the amount of time it takes before a user gets a reply from an online site.
At present, with the increase in the speed at which the Internet works, users are becoming more and more impatient. This is in contrast to attitudes less than a decade ago, when users generally accepted the idea of having to wait for a website to load, especially if it was heavy on graphics and other content. Today, online marketers believe that if a site takes more than eight seconds to load, the tendency for visitors is to cancel the attempt to view the page and direct their attention elsewhere. This is an important consideration, particularly because it translates into the loss of revenue.
Response time may be determined or influenced by the server used by the website. Heavy site traffic may also cause sites to slow down. For instance, users trying to access the website of a company which has just launched a major promotion could find it relatively difficult to complete transactions.
Response time can also refer to the amount of time it takes before a company responds to an online query. If it takes too long for a company to get back to client who has sent an inquiry by email, it reflects badly on the company. That company may not have another opportunity to do business with the dissatisfied customer. As such, quick response time is an important element of customer service in the context of online marketing.