April 6, 2011, 4:33 PM

M-commerce sites play musical chairs on this week’s Keynote performance index

Four of the top five retailers move up one position, keeping pages light.

Bill Siwicki

Managing Editor, Mobile Commerce

Lead Photo

The m-commerce site of StrandBooks.com was the top performer on this week's Keynote Mobile Commerce Performance Index.

StrandBooks.com, Dell Inc., Walgreen Co. and Barnes & Noble Inc. all moved up one position on this week’s Keynote Mobile Commerce Performance Index, keeping them in the top five mobile performers. Toolfetch.com LLC dropped four spots from its No. 1 berth last week to No. 5. All five registered a score greater than 800 out of 1,000. A score is created by equally weighting then combining the time it takes to download an m-commerce site home page (load time) and the number of times the mobile home page downloads correctly (success rate).

When it comes to achieving a successful load time, several variables come into play because of the nature of wireless networks.

“Given the lower bandwidth and higher latency times over wireless networks, the two most important variables that affect page load time are the total number of bytes it takes to download a page and the number of objects on a page, objects such as style sheets, images and JavaScript,” says Herman Ng, mobile performance evangelist at mobile and web performance management firm Keynote Systems Inc. “On the index, each of the top five sites generally take less than 20 kilobytes to download and have fewer than 10 page objects. Sites with lighter page weight will obviously load faster. And retailers should also always ensure they are taking full advantage of content compression. Sending raw content with no compression consumes unnecessary bandwidth and results in longer page load times.”

For the week ending April 1, StrandBooks.com’s m-commerce site home page downloaded on average in 3.93 seconds and did so successfully 99.00% of the time, earning a score of 931. Dell had a load time of 3.95 seconds and a success rate of 98.88% for a score of 915. And Walgreens had a load time of 4.60 seconds and a success rate of 98.71% for a score of 823.

Click here then click on Keynote Mobile Commerce Performance Index to see this week’s complete results for 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.

Comments | 1 Response

  • As an avid reader of Internet Retailer, I must say I am deeply disappointed in the article about the Keynote Mobile Performance Index… On what basis is this index founded upon? These rankings are superficially skewed using statistics and in no way representative of the mobile retailer space. Some notable exceptions missing from this list include Crate & Barrel and REI mobile… in the future I'd like to see a much more comprehensive list. Where is the methodology in measuring loading times on websites? Android Chrome Browser and Safari iOS have two different ways of rendering webpages, and how can you ensure consistency in testing results? In addition, how can you compare a site like StrandBooks to a more full-featured mobile site like Amazon? The testing methodology needs to be more transparent here. These week to week rankings are in no way representative of real world performance and usage data.

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