August 4, 2011, 1:13 PM

Walmart.com and Target m-commerce sites soar on mobile performance index

Success rate improvements are key to success.

Lead Photo

The retailer's success rate improvement was behind its jump from No. 26 to No. 2 on the Keynote Mobile Commerce Performance Index.

Nothing succeeds like success, the old saying goes. And two merchants on the Keynote Mobile Commerce Performance Index found that out last week.

Walmart.com and Target Corp. achieved the biggest jumps in rank last week because of improvements in success rate, in this case the percent of the time the retailers’ mobile commerce site home pages downloaded completely and successfully. Walmart.com’s success rate increased 3.77 percentage points to 98.76%; the merchant soared from No. 26 to No. 2 on the index. Target’s success rate increased 3.95 percentage points to 98.09%; the retailer jumped from No. 29 to No. 19.

“Two weeks ago, our mobile monitoring data showed that both retailers’ mobile sites experienced service interruptions of a few hours. They have since recovered, been stable and therefore experienced overall success rate improvement,” says Herman Ng, mobile performance evangelist at mobile and web performance management firm Keynote Systems Inc. “Though at times service interruptions are unavoidable, it’s critical not to keep users in the dark. Providing a friendly ‘Site Under Maintenance’ message is just as important as recovering the service. End users are typically very forgiving and will likely return if they know when the site is expected to be available again.”

Target did not respond specifically to questions about the results. A spokesman only would say, “Our aim is to deliver a fast, reliable and relevant mobile site to enable our guests to shop Target anywhere and anytime.” A Walmart.com spokeswoman says, "We’re pleased with the performance of our mobile offering at Walmart, and continue to further enhance this experience."

Dell Inc. topped the weekly index. Its m-commerce site home page downloaded on average in 4.85 seconds and did so successfully 98.96% of the time for a score of 993 out of 1,000. Walmart.com came in second with a load time of 5.25 seconds and a success rate of 98.76% for a score of 975. And Walgreens came in third with a load time of 5.89 seconds and a success rate of 98.77% for a score of 958.

The average load time for all 30 retailers on the index was 9.09 seconds. The average success rate was 97.72%. And the average score was 837.

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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