April 4, 2013, 4:07 PM

Dick’s cuts eight mobile page objects and trims a second off of page load time

The sporting goods retailer may need to slash analytics calls, Keynote says.

On March 21, Dick’s Sporting Goods Inc. reduced the number of objects on its mobile commerce web site home page from 36 to 28 and consequently trimmed one second off of its average page load time, mobile and web performance management firm Keynote says. A page object can be an image, a box of text, a tracking pixel or a web analytics call, among other things. Dick’s cut Cascading Style Sheet and JavaScript files, Keynote says.

“At just over 12 seconds to load, Dick’s is still a bit slower than the single-digit times posted by the leaders on the index, but it’s a nice step in the right direction,” says Joe Flake, Keynote web and mobile performance expert. “Dick’s makes a number of analytics calls. In fact, they may be on the cusp where these analytics calls become significant to the overall page load time. The impact of analytics calls typically is buried among the many objects of a large, desktop page, but as the object count comes down on a mobile page, the time for an analytics call becomes more significant. There’s a valid tradeoff between analytics and performance that must be considered.”

Good page design puts analytics calls, which are invisible to consumers, at the end of a page load, Flake says. That way consumers might not notice any extra time, even though the time is caught by measurement tools such as the ones Keynote uses that record the entire page load.

Dick’s Sporting Goods, No. 142 in the Internet Retailer Mobile 400, did not respond to a request for comment.

For the week ending March 31, the m-commerce site home page of Dick’s Sporting Goods loaded on average in 12.13 seconds and did so completely and successfully 99.62% of the time, according to the Keynote Mobile Commerce Performance Index. Weighting and then combining load time and success rate earned the retailer an index score of 668 out of 1,000.

Toolfetch.com LLC topped the index with a load time of a swift 2.90 seconds and a success rate of 99.38% for a score of 949. Barnes & Noble tied for second with W.W. Grainger Inc. Barnes & Noble had a load time of 4.25 seconds and a success rate of 99.88% for a score of 946. Grainger had a load time of 3.92 seconds and a success rate of 99.75% for a score of 946.

Toolfetch.com is No. 248 in the Internet Retailer Mobile 400, BarnesandNoble.com Inc. is No. 31 and Grainger is No. 76.

The index average load time was 8.34 seconds, the average success rate was 99.25% and the average score was 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 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.

Keynote is ranked No. 2 among web performance monitoring firms in Internet Retailer’s Leading Vendors to the Top 1000 E-retailers guide.

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