May 25, 2011, 3:50 PM

Office Depot supplies heightened m-commerce site performance

The merchant registered marked improvement on the Keynote mobile performance index.

Office Depot Inc. showed significant improvement on the weekly Keynote Mobile Commerce Performance Index based on a drop in m-commerce site home page download time and a big jump in success rate.

For the week ending May 22, Office Depot’s mobile home page downloaded on average in 9.47 seconds compared with 11.87 seconds the previous week, finds mobile and web performance management firm Keynote Systems Inc. The mobile home page downloaded successfully 96.81% of the time compared with a very low 92.33% the previous week.

Keynote analyzed the m-commerce site of Office Depot, No. 5 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, and found there were no changes made to the site’s base page, which is key to performance. A base page is the foundational HTML document that defines page structure, with HTML tags that outline the layout and content of the page. A base page also can include embedded resources such as style sheets and images. The base page is the first resource a browser downloads to determine what other resources need to be downloaded and executed. Faster base page performance means faster site performance.

And Office Depot achieved faster base page performance week over week with no changes to the page; further, the number of objects on the page was the same. An object is an item that appears on a page, such as an image or a box of text. So, improvement came from elsewhere, Keynote Systems says.

“Two weeks ago Office Depot’s base page performance was on average between five to six seconds; since late last week, base page performance became faster and dropped to an average of three to four seconds,” explains Herman Ng, mobile performance evangelist at Keynote Systems. “There were no changes to the page; this mean the performance improvement came directly from faster web server response. This improvement could be a result of a software upgrade or hardware expansion. The important take-away here is that other than page construction, which is often the primary factor in site performance, there are certainly other areas that retailers need to examine to fully optimize mobile performance.”

Office Depot did not respond to a request for comment.

Walmart.com’s m-commerce site home page topped the index this week with a score of 982 out of 1,000. Its home page downloaded on average in 5.89 seconds and did so successfully 99.41% of the time. Staples Inc. came in second with a score of 981. Its load time was 6.15 seconds and success rate was 99.47%. The index average score was 714. The average download time was 8.90 seconds and the success rate was 98.36%.

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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