February 8, 2012, 9:58 AM

Bloomingdale’s too bloated for good mobile performance, Keynote says

But there are cures for its complex woes.

Bill Siwicki

Managing Editor, Mobile Commerce

Lead Photo

The merchant's m-commerce site home page last week took on average 20.91 seconds to load.

In a world where speed is essential, Bloomingdale’s is way behind the curve. Consumers browsing the web on their smartphones expect pages to load fast—two to four seconds is an ideal range, mobile experts say. For the week ending Feb. 5, it took on average 20.91 seconds for Bloomingdale’s m-commerce site home page to load, according to the Keynote Mobile Commerce Performance Index. The index average load time for all retailers tracked by the index was 8.10 seconds.

Bloomingdale’s mobile performance is suffering because the site is too complex, says Keynote Systems Inc., a mobile and web performance management firm that measures for Internet Retailer the performance of 30 m-commerce sites every week. The mobile home page contains 46 page objects, such as images and boxes of text; it is hosted on 12 different web domains; and it requires 20 Transmission Control Protocol, or TCP, connections between web servers and a mobile device to load the entire page, Keynote says.

“The high number of page objects is the main factor that causes Bloomingdale’s mobile site to load slower compared to other retailers,” says Herman Ng, mobile performance evangelist at Keynote Systems. “Out of the 46 page objects, 33 of them are JavaScript objects which can be combined into fewer or even one JavaScript to minimize the number of network requests and also reduce the total TCP connection time required to download all of them.”

There also is a problem when it comes to how the m-commerce site home page loads on feature phones. Keynote measures performance on four devices: three smartphones and one feature phone. The average load time on the feature phone for the week ending Feb. 5 was a mind-boggling 81.92 seconds.

“Bloomingdale’s has a well-designed mobile page when it comes to the graphic look,” Ng says. “While feature phones are getting smarter and are capable of handling complex HTML pages, it still takes longer to download the same page from a feature phone compared to a smartphone. Therefore, Bloomingdale’s can optimize its mobile page further for feature phone devices, which will improve load time and ultimately improve the overall user experience.”

In addition to the 20.91-second load time, Bloomingdale’s average success rate—the percentage of the time a page loads completely and successfully—was 97.20%. Its load time and success rate combined and weighted earned it a score of 482 out of 1,000. The index average success rate was 97.12% and the average score was 781.

Bloomingdale’s did not respond to a request for comment.

Sears Holdings Corp. topped this week’s Keynote Mobile Commerce Performance Index. Its load time was 2.66 seconds and success rate was 99.25% for a score of 993. Victoria’s Secret came in second with a load time of 3.56 seconds and a success rate of 99.41% for a score of 978. And CVS Caremark Corp. came in third with a load time of 3.08 seconds and a success rate of 99.02% for a score of 974.

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 multiple categories and channels, and of multiple sizes, ranging from such giants as Amazon.com Inc., Sears Holdings Corp. and 1-800-Flowers.com Inc., to midsized retailers like Sunglass Hut and Toolfetch.com LLC. 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. Keynote 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 that 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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