August 8, 2012, 3:15 PM

Office Depot stays at No. 1 with an under-3-second mobile page load time

The retailer again tops the Keynote Mobile Commerce Performance Index.

Lead Photo

The merchant's m-commerce site home page loaded successfully 99.68% of the time.

Office Depot Inc. held onto its No. 1 spot on the Keynote Mobile Commerce Performance Index for the week ending Aug. 5, its mobile commerce site home page loading on average in a swift 2.77 seconds and doing so completely and successfully 99.68% of the time. The weighted and combined load time and success rate earned the office supplies merchant an index score of 970 out of 1,000.

“We can make some clear observations on best practices,” says Haroon Chohan, mobile and web performance expert at Keynote Systems Inc. “To begin with, Office Depot redirects only one time on their mobile site’s home page and the site begins to display content pretty quickly. It’s all about perception. As far as the end user is concerned, something should display on the page as soon as they navigate to the URL. Office Depot does a good job of that by displaying a sprite image and then requesting additional content.”

A sprite is a single file that contains multiple page objects, such as images. This saves server requests for multiple images, which in turn reduces page load time.

“Office Depot makes on average only seven separate HTTP server requests to load its home page,” Chohan says. “This is great for the end user experience when a consumer first visits the site. Redirects and server requests greatly impact the user experience and can be the difference between a happy customer and a frustrated shopper that ends up buying somewhere else.”

Office Depot designed the m-commerce site with performance in mind, says Carl Brisco, senior director of global e-commerce.

“We minimized the number of objects and redirects that load when customers visit, without impacting the web site’s functionality,” Brisco says. “This change was implemented in order to increase web site performance by reducing the page load time. Web performance is part of our design philosophy for all of Office Depot’s sites, and we are seeing the benefits of this in m-commerce.”

Buy.com came in behind Office Depot at No. 2 with a load time of 3.59 seconds and a success rate of 99.79% for a score of 952. And HSN Inc. came in third with a load time of 4.28 seconds and a success rate of 99.79% for a score of 924.

The index average load time is 7.54 seconds, the average success rate is 99.11% and the average score is 697.

Office Depot is No. 53 in the Internet Retailer Mobile Commerce Top 300. Buy.com is No. 19 and HSN is No. 58.

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. to midsized retailers like 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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