June 1, 2011, 5:20 PM

J.C. Penney lightens its load and improves download time, mobile index shows

Killing kilobytes decreased m-commerce site download time by 1.94 seconds.

Lead Photo

The merchant's m-commerce site home page downloaded last week on average in 9.04 seconds.

J.C. Penney Co. Inc. has shown that all it takes to enhance m-commerce site performance is dropping some kilobytes, the weekly Keynote Mobile Commerce Performance Index finds.

On May 26, the chain retailer reduced the total kilobyte weight of its m-commerce site home page and optimized two images, making them six times lighter, says mobile and web performance management firm Keynote Systems Inc. Two weeks ago Penney’s m-commerce site home page’s average download time was 10.98 seconds; last week it improved by 1.94 seconds to hit an average of 9.04 seconds, according to Keynote’s weekly study.

“The changes also eliminated all content errors. A content error is when one or more page elements, such as an image, fails to download successfully,” says Herman Ng, mobile performance evangelist at Keynote Systems. “This real-world example shows that no detail is too small. Optimizing only two page objects can result in significant site performance improvement.”

J.C. Penney, No. 20 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, did not respond to a request for comment.

Walmart.com again topped the index of 30 retailers. Its average m-commerce site home page download time was 5.77 seconds, and the page downloaded successfully 99.50% of the time. It earned a score of 990 out of 1,000. Lowe’s Cos. Inc. came in second with a score of 986. Its home page downloaded in 5.85 seconds with a success rate of 99.49%. And Staples Inc. came in third with a score of 979. Its mobile home page downloaded on average in 5.95 seconds with a success rate of 99.45%.

The index average score was 800. The average download time was 8.81 seconds with a success rate of 98.59%.

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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