February 22, 2011, 4:31 PM

Toolfetch.com soars 11 places on weekly m-commerce site performance index

The e-retailer goes from last to fourth after a performance tune-up.

Bill Siwicki

Managing Editor, Mobile Commerce

In mobile commerce, every second counts. Consumers shopping on their smartphones are on the go, thinking fast, needing to get in and out of a retailer’s m-commerce site as quickly as possible.

Toolfetch.com LLC, one of 15 retailers tracked by the weekly Keynote Mobile Commerce Performance Index, recently found itself lingering at the bottom of the index and decided to take action.

“Toolfetch.com noticed that over a period of months its mobile site’s performance was slowly but surely degrading to the point where on last week’s index it ended up last in the rankings. Toolfetch approached Keynote for help to understand exactly what might be going on,” says Herman Ng, mobile performance evangelist at mobile and web performance management firm Keynote Systems Inc. “We used our mobile data to pinpoint exactly where the bottlenecks were occurring. One of the issues was a bad page object that caused unnecessary load time. The data also uncovered that they had multiple static page objects hosted on multiple domains which resulted in additional domain name system lookup time and TCP connection times.”

An object is an item on a web page such as an image or block of text. Hosting on multiple domains can lead to slower load times because objects must be gathered from multiple sources. TCP is the Transmission Control Protocol component of the common TCP/IP Internet protocol suite.

“Toofetch.com took immediate action to remedy these issue and the results are apparent on the most recent weekly index,” Ng says. “Its mobile site load time improved by 1.6 seconds, or 28%, and reliability improved by 8.12 percentage points. Its overall performance score jumped to 797 out of 1,000 and moved Toolfetch.com from being ranked lowest on the performance index last week to fourth place this week, which is better than even Walmart.com, which ranked fifth.”

Toolfetch executives say poor m-commerce site performance must be addressed by retailers looking to succeed in the mobile world.

“We know every second counts today in m-commerce and that a one- or two-second delay can be frustrating and ultimately cause the loss of a potential sale,” says Andrew Brown, co-founder and CEO of Toolfetch.com, No. 441 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide. “We will continue our efforts to improve our performance and engineer the mobile site so our customers have an overall positive experience when shopping at Toolfetch.”

Click here then click on Keynote Mobile Commerce Performance Index to see the complete results of all 15 retailers on the index.

Keynote Systems measures 15 representative m-commerce sites exclusively for Internet Retailer. The sites include merchants in various categories and channels, and of various sizes, ranging from such giants as Sears Holdings Corp. and Foot Locker Inc. to midsized retailers like Sunglass Hut and K&L Wine Merchants. Keynote repeatedly tests the sites in the index Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. through midnight Eastern time, emulating three different smartphones on three different wireless networks: Apple Inc.’s iPhone on AT&T, the BlackBerry Curve on Sprint and the Droid (which uses Google Inc.’s Android operating system) on Verizon.

Keynote combines a site’s load time and success rate, equally weighted, into a single score. Given both performance and availability are important, the score reflects the overall quality of the home page; a higher score indicates better performance. Scores also reflect how close sites are to each other in overall quality. The index average score is the midpoint among all the sites’ scores.

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