May 18, 2011, 3:52 PM

Buy.com puts its m-commerce site on a diet and improves performance, research shows

It reduces home page objects and shoots up seven spots on a weekly index.

Lead Photo

The merchant's redesigned m-commerce site shot up seven spots on this week's Keynote Mobile Commerce Performance Index.

Buy.com Inc. showed last week that lighter is better when it comes to mobile commerce site performance by trimming down its mobile home page. The result? Quicker page download time and fewer problems downloading the home page.

For the week ending May 15, the m-commerce site home page of Buy.com, No. 32 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, downloaded on average in 10.44 seconds, 2.88 seconds faster than the previous week, according to the Keynote Mobile Commerce Performance Index. Its success rate was 98.19%, an increase of 1.43 percentage points. It achieved a score of 726 out of 1,000; score is a weighted combination of load time and success rate. The score places Buy.com at No. 20 on the 30-retailer index, up seven positions from the previous week.

“We examined the data closely and noticed Buy.com made some page construction changes,” says Herman Ng, mobile performance evangelist at mobile and web performance management firm Keynote Systems Inc. “Performance improvements began shortly after Buy.com reduced the number of page objects from 42 to 14, trimming page size from approximately 270 kilobytes to 140, making the page nearly 50% lighter. This is a great and simple optimization strategy for mobile web sites that every retailer should consider employing in order to provide the best mobile web experience for end users.”

A page object is a piece of a web page, such as an image or a box of text.

All of this follows a late April m-commerce site redesign that caused Buy.com to drop toward the bottom of the index. Buy.com did not immediately respond for comment.

Walgreen Co. again secured the No. 1 spot on the index with a score of 985. Its m-commerce site home page average download time was 5.75 seconds and the page downloaded successfully 99.50% of the time. Dell Inc. moved up four spots to No. 2 with a score of 983. Its average load time was 5.47 seconds and success rate was 99.33%. And Walmart.com was up one position to No. 3 with a score of 971. Its average load time was 5.92 seconds and success rate was 99.39%.

Click here and then click on Keynote Mobile Commerce Performance Index Part 1 and Part 2 to see this week’s complete results for all 30 retailers on the index.

Keynote Systems measures 30 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 Amazon.com Inc., Sears Holdings Corp. and 1-800-Flowers.com Inc., to midsized retailers like Sunglass Hut, Toolfetch.com LLC and Your Electronic Warehouse. Keynote tests the sites in the index every hour Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. through midnight Eastern time, emulating four different smartphones on four different wireless networks: Apple Inc.’s iPhone 4 on AT&T, the HTC Evo on Sprint, the BlackBerry Curve on T-Mobile and the Droid X on Verizon. The HTC Evo and the Droid X run Google Inc.’s Android operating system.

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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