September 15, 2011, 10:39 AM

T-Mobile problem solved, Sears jumps nine positions up mobile performance index

The retailer made changes to its m-commerce site that enhanced load time.

Lead Photo

The merchant maintains an m-commerce site home page (above) that is relatively light in weight that enables fairly quick load times.

Sears Holdings Corp. is a case in point for why merchants need to test their mobile commerce sites on multiple smartphones on multiple wireless networks to ensure good performance.

Sears jumped from No. 19 last week to No. 10 this week on the Keynote Mobile Commerce Performance Index. Keynote Systems Inc., a mobile and web performance management firm, credits the jump to a drastic improvement in load time—the time it takes to successfully load a page onto a smartphone—on the T-Mobile wireless network. In last week’s measurements, it took between 27 and 40 seconds for the Sears m-commerce site home page to load via the T-Mobile network. In this week’s measurements, that time dropped to between four and eight seconds.

Keynote measures m-commerce site performance on all four major carriers: AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon.

“Analyzing the performance data we could clearly see that there were some changes made to the site around Sept. 7 and after the changes were made the site load times improved tremendously,” says Haroon Chohan, mobile performance expert at Keynote Systems.

Sears, No. 7 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, would not reveal the nature of the changes, but emphasized that mobile commerce site performance is something it takes seriously.

“The speed of experience is one of the many facets that we manage to ensure customers have a great experience,” says Michael Murray, chief marketing officer of online at Sears. “Our customers will continue to be at the epicenter of what we develop and create for in-store, online and mobile shopping experiences. We are listening to what they say and as a result are building solutions, features and functionalities that make life easier for them, including developments of new mobile shopping apps and enhancements to the m-commerce site.”

Dell Inc. topped this week’s index, its m-commerce site home page downloading on average in 4.68 seconds and doing so successfully 98.84% of the time. It earned a score of 982 out of 1,000. Walgreen Co. came in second with a load time of 5.64 seconds and a success rate of 99.07% for a score of 971. And Walmart.com came in third with a load time of 5.06 seconds and a success rate of 98.30% for a score of 937.

The average load time for all 30 retailers on the index this week is 9.40 seconds, the average success rate is 97.34% and the average score is 761.

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 Sunday 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. It runs the tests in Chicago, Dallas, New York and San Francisco.

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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