June 14, 2012, 11:47 AM

Office Depot: A lean, mean shopping machine

The retailer’s m-commerce site exhibits spectacular performance, Keynote says.

Lead Photo

The merchant's m-commerce site home page loaded on average in 3.02 seconds.

If a retailer wants a big, rich mobile commerce site, it typically has to make some sacrifice—large or small—in load time, the time it takes for a web page to travel from a server to a smartphone. There are some tricks and tweaks retailers can use to make more robust m-commerce sites render more quickly, but there’s nothing like a lean site when it comes to speed.

“The theme of smaller is better continues to be the major way to stay ahead of the pack,” says Keynote Systems Inc.’s web and mobile performance expert Joe Flake of the merchants on the Keynote Mobile Commerce Performance Index for the week ending June 10.

Flake cites Office Depot Inc. as exemplary. Its m-commerce site home page had the quickest page load time, a very speedy 3.02 seconds, and a near-perfect 99.91% success rate, the percentage of the time a page loads completely and successfully. Office Depot achieved the highest load time and success rate of all 30 retailers on the index, and the figures weighted and combined earned it a perfect score of 1,000.

Office Depot, No. 53 in the Internet Retailer Mobile Commerce Top 300, trimmed the number of home page objects from eight to seven and eliminated one redirect, a process that takes a user from one domain to another to access content, Flake says. Both of these tactics hasten the loading process.

Office Depot last week had its eye on performance.

“We minimized the number of objects that load when our customers visit OfficeDepot.com without impacting the web site’s functionality,” says Carl Brisco, senior director, global e-commerce. “This change was implemented in order increase web site performance by reducing the page load time.”

The office supplies retailer puts mobile performance at a premium. “Office Depot’s m-commerce site performance is very important to us because it affects the customer’s experience online,” Brisco adds.

Sears Holdings Corp. came in second for the week ending June 10 with a load time of 3.38 seconds and a success rate of 99.54% for a score of 955. And HSN Inc. came in third with a load time of 4.54 seconds and a success rate of 99.54% for a score of 914.

The average load time for all 30 retailers on the index was 7.52 seconds, the average success rate was 98.18% and the average score was 691.

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 Walmart.com, 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 three different smartphones on three different wireless networks: Apple Inc.’s iPhone 4 on AT&T, the HTC Evo on Sprint 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 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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