January 22, 2013, 3:33 PM

Victoria’s Secret is not always home

Its mobile commerce site home page loads only 97.79% of the time, Keynote Systems says.

Lead Photo

Victoria’s Secret Direct moved from the very bottom of the 30-retailer Keynote Mobile Commerce Performance Index to No. 21 for the week ending Jan. 20. Slight improvements in the amount of time it took to successfully load the m-commerce site home page and the percentage of the time that page loaded completely and successfully fueled the retailer’s nine-spot jump, but there is plenty of room for mobile performance improvement, says mobile and web performance management firm Keynote Systems Inc.

The merchant’s load time for the week ending Jan. 13 was 7.64 seconds and its success rate was 97.45%. Weighting and combining load time and success rate earned the retailer an index score of only 391 out of 1,000. For the week ending Jan. 20, the load time was 7.36 seconds and the success rate was 97.79% for a score of 719.

Victoria’s Secret’s 7.36-second load time bests the index average load time of 9.19 seconds. The problem is with site availability. An optimal success rate is greater than 99.00%, Keynote Systems says. The index average is 98.99%. At 97.79%, Victoria’s Secret falls well short of the ideal rate, Keynote says.

“The site reported a number of page load failures across all devices monitoring the home page,” says Haroon Chohan, mobile and web performance expert at Keynote Systems. “Many of the page load failures were reporting ‘Service Unavailable’ errors, where the home page failed to load and the end user saw nothing but a blank page.”

Keynote also registered a number of content errors recorded on a Droid X on the Verizon network and an iPhone 4 on the AT&T network.

“Many of the content errors were caused by objects, mostly images, failing to load on the page,” Chohan says. “Some of these objects may just be referenced in the code and not necessarily visible to the end user, but they definitely have an impact on performance since they require an HTTP server request. It’s important to keep the number of HTTP requests to a minimum given that content is being delivered over carrier networks with very little control. It’s also very important for site code to be as clean as possible and only request content that is required on the page.”

Detecting and fixing availability issues quickly along with being diligent in quality assurance to clean up code can help greatly improve mobile site performance, Chohan adds.

Victoria’s Secret, No. 35 in the Internet Retailer Mobile 400, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Barnes & Noble topped the Keynote index for the week ending Jan. 20 with a load time of 4.88 seconds and a success rate of 99.88% for a score of 960. W.W. Grainger Inc. came in second with a load time of 4.65 seconds and a success rate of 99.63% for a score of 942. And Rakuten Buy.com came in third with a load time of 5.03 seconds and a success rate of 99.28% for a score of 903.

BarnesandNoble.com Inc. is No. 31 in the Internet Retailer Mobile 400. Grainger is No. 76 and Rakuten Buy.com is No. 30.

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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