March 15, 2011, 1:35 PM

After a tune-up, Toolfetch.com hits No. 1 on mobile performance index

A few quick fixes and dropped features speeds download time.

After languishing toward the bottom of the Keynote Mobile Commerce Performance Index for some time and then jumping seven spots last week to enter the top five, Toolfetch.com LLC is No. 1 on this week’s index. This after an m-commerce site performance tune-up in February that pinpointed data bottlenecks and fixed bad page objects, such as images, coming from multiple domains, which slows load time. It also spurred Toolfetch.com to drop mobile live chat and pare down the number of categories it displayed.

“After seeing our rankings drop from position four to dead last, we were driven to resolve whatever issues were hindering our performance,” says Andrew Brown, co-founder and CEO of Toolfetch.com. “Working with Keynote we were able to tweak specific objects and functionality to decrease load times and resolve uptime issues on our mobile site with different wireless carriers. After some trial and error, the results speak for themselves. We will continue to monitor our performance going forward and make updates where necessary so our success rate and load times are top-notch.”

At 3.18 seconds, Toolfetch.com has the fastest average page load time, downloading successfully 98.93% of the time.

“Seven of the 15 retailers also showed positive performance improvement by having both faster load times and higher reliability compared to the week before,” says Herman Ng, mobile performance evangelist at mobile and web performance management firm Keynote Systems Inc.

However, one retailer that didn’t perform as well compared to previous weeks was K&L Wine Merchants. The retailer dropped five positions because of several hours of service interruption last week, which brought its average success rate down by 3.24 percentage points to 95.00%, placing it last in the index of 15 retailers. Its average m-commerce site home page download time was 6.37 seconds.

“We were having some issues with the server hosting our mobile site, and opted to give customers our traditional site temporarily rather than risking temporary outages on the mobile site,” says Brian Zucker, co-owner of K&L Wine Merchants. “We felt it was the best short-term option given the situation.”

Another retailer, Victoria’s Secret, also dropped five positions with a lower average load time.

“Upon closer examination we noticed that one of their domain hosts is delivering content nearly three times slower compared to the other three site domain hosts, and it’s specific to one device and one carrier network,” Ng says. A domain host is where some data resides.

Victoria’s Secret’s average download time was 6.24 seconds and its success rate was 99.11%. It is No. 10 on the index. The merchant did not return a call for comment.

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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