April 25, 2013, 12:07 PM

Victoria’s Secret jumps 18 spots on a mobile performance index

Improvement in site availability is key to the retailer’s success, Keynote says.

Lead Photo

The chain retailer's m-commerce site home page loaded on average in 6.74 seconds.

Victoria’s Secret Direct soared 18 positions to No. 8 on the Keynote Mobile Commerce Performance Index for the week ending April 21. The lingerie retailer’s mobile commerce web site home page loaded on average in 6.74 seconds and it did so completely and successfully 99.49% of the time, reports mobile and web performance management firm Keynote. Weighting and then combining the load time and success rate (also known as site availability) earned the retailer an index score of 816 out of 1,000.

“While the site was slightly faster this week, the gains it made on the index were primarily due to improved availability,” says Ken Harker, mobile performance expert at Keynote. “Victoria’s Secret improved availability by 1.38 percentage points.”

The Victoria’s Secret m-commerce site has had lower availability than Keynote recommends for some time. Back in January, the site was trending below 98% availability, but in recent months it has begun improving. This week the site just about met Keynote’s recommendation for availability of 99.5% or higher.

The mobile site was returning errors, causing the lower site availability, Keynote says. “Many of the errors on the Victoria’s Secret site have been HTTP 503 Service Unavailable errors when requesting the base page HTML element for the home page,” Harker says. “The frequency of these errors has decreased, but the errors are not completely eliminated—there was still a handful in the week ending April 21.”

The base page HTML element is the core web site document that contains the structure for the web page. The first element to be loaded when a browser requests a page is the base page HTML element. In that file are the links to the other assets on the page, such as images and scripts. If the base page HTML file fails to load, the result is no web page for the browser.

Victoria’s Secret did not respond to a request for comment.

Keynote recommends two actions that can help retailers improve m-commerce site availability.

“Keep the web page design simple, and ensure that the site has enough capacity for peak period traffic,” Harker advises. “The fewer HTTP requests that are needed for a page, the less likely that one will fail. The fewer domains that are used, the less likely that you will have issues with Domain Name System lookup failures or TCP connection establishment. To avoid timeout errors, retailers need to make sure sites can handle peak period traffic. The wireless networks can slow down during peak period hours, so ensuring your site doesn’t slow down during peak period hours and make it that much worse is critical to a highly available site.”

Regularly monitoring m-commerce site performance is one key to ensure site visitors’ performance expectations are met, Harker adds.

Sears Holdings Corp. topped the 30-retailer Keynote Mobile Commerce Performance Index for the week ending April 21. Its m-commerce site home page load time was 1.99 seconds and its success rate was 99.61% for a score of 971. Toolfetch.com LLC came in second with a load time of 2.64 seconds and a success rate of 99.34% for a score of 931. And Office Depot Inc. came in third with a load time of 4.59 seconds and a success rate of 99.87% for a score of 910.

Victoria’s Secret is No. 35 in the Internet Retailer Mobile 400, Sears is No. 29, Toolfetch.com is No. 248 and Office Depot is No. 65.

The index average load time was 8.53 seconds, the average success rate was 99.18% and the average score was 738.

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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