April 21, 2011, 10:32 AM

As mobile commerce matures, site testing becomes more important

Branding Brand uses an AlertSite tool to monitor and improve retailers’ mobile sites.

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As mobile commerce becomes more mature, with more features and images added to retailer’s m--commerce sites, testing how that extra weight affects page load times becomes ever more important, says web monitoring firm AlertSite. That’s why e-commerce services provider Branding Brand about a year ago began using AlertSite’s site performance tools to ensure that its customers’ mobile commerce sites were up to speed.

Branding Brand provides the web retailing functionality for about 1,000 web sites, including those operated by college bookstores, says company co-founder Joey Rahimi. Branding Brand uses AlertSite’s DéjàClick Mobile Monitoring Solution to test the performance of its retailer clients’ mobile commerce sites. The tool enables Branding Brand to create scripts—basically, step-by-step tests that determine how specific elements of a mobile site affect performance.

For instance, for one of Branding Brand’s clients, the company used the AlertSite tool to test the checkout procedure. The test began by loading the site’s homepage, followed by clicking on product categories and subcategories, clicking on an individual product, adding that product to a cart, logging into a customer account, and then proceeding to checkout.  This specific test was performed on a mobile device that used the Android operating system.

“The average load time came back at 33 seconds for the entire script. That's approximately 4.7 seconds per page, which to us is pretty good, but we like to be in the 3-second range,” Rahimi says. “So right away we investigated each page, made a few adjustments to image size along with some other code, and then re-ran the script. The average load time to complete the entire script dropped to 27 seconds, bringing the average page load to 3.85 seconds.”

Branding Brand can use the AlertSite tool to run the testing scripts every few minutes or every few hours, depending on client needs, he adds.

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