September 1, 2010, 4:07 PM

QVC and Wal-Mart speed to the top of mobile performance index

The retailers’ m-commerce sites load extremely fast, as gauged in a new weekly index.

Bill Siwicki

Managing Editor, Mobile Commerce

The seconds it takes to load a home page are the most crucial in mobile commerce. Consumers have the same expectations for site performance for m-commerce sites as they do for e-commerce sites, even though mobile is handicapped by wireless networks, which are not as quick as land lines. So retailers in m-commerce have to design mobile sites that can load easily or risk losing impatient shoppers.

QVC, operated by Liberty Media Corp., and Walmart.com topped the Keynote Mobile Commerce Performance Index, with scores on a 1,000-point scale of 955 and 942, respectively. Keynote Systems Inc., a mobile and web performance management firm, measures 16 representative m-commerce sites exclusively for Internet Retailer. The sites include merchants in various categories and channels, and are both big and small in size, ranging from such giants as Walmart.com and Walgreens to SunglassHut and Toolfetch.com. Click here and select Keynote Mobile Commerce Performance Index to see complete results for all 16 merchants.

QVC’s m-commerce site last week loaded on average in 1.92 seconds with a success rate of 98.46%, while Walmart.com’s loaded in 3.07 seconds with a success rate of 99.22%. The success rate measures how often a page loads completely. Keynote repeatedly tests the sites in the index Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. through midnight using three different smartphones on three different wireless networks: the iPhone on AT&T, the BlackBerry Curve on Sprint and the Droid (which uses the Android operating system) on Verizon. Load times and success rates are equally weighted and combined to create the index score.

Other retailers with strong showings include StrandBooks (with a score of 865), Barnes & Noble (862) and Walgreens (817). StrandBooks’ m-commerce home page loaded on average in 3.60 seconds with a success rate of 98.39%, Barnes & Noble’s home page loaded in 4.49 seconds with a success rate of 99.10% and Walgreens’ home page loaded in 5.51 seconds with a success rate of 99.19%.

The average score for this week’s index is 753. The average load time is 5.27 seconds and the average success rate is 97.93%.

“Web site performance and availability is quite different in the mobile world compared to the traditional web world because of the complexity of the data connection through the network operators,” explains Herman Ng, mobile solutions consultant at Keynote Systems. “The fastest and slowest sites differed by nearly six times, arguably a great difference in the user experience. Further, when it comes to availability, being down 4% of the time is the equivalent of having your store closed 14 days a year, something no retailer would want to face.”

Retailers in the index include Barnes & Noble, Best Buy, Dell, Foot Locker, K&L Wines, QVC, Sears, StrandBooks.com, Sunglass Hut, Target, Toolfetch.com, Victoria’s Secret, Walmart.com, Walgreens, Ylang 23 and Your Electronic Warehouse.

 

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