March 12, 2014, 4:39 PM

Foot locker steps up its mobile site performance

The athletic shoe and apparel retailer jumps nine spots on the Keynote Mobile Commerce Performance Index of 30 mobile sites, moving from dead last to No. 21 thanks to a lighter mobile home page with improved site availability.

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Foot Locker Inc. played a solid mobile game last week.

The retailer’s mobile commerce site home page loaded completely and successfully 99.29% of the time in tests conducted by mobile and web performance monitoring, testing and analytics firm Keynote for the week ending March 9. That’s up from 95.73% a week earlier. Its home page was also lighter, weighing 854 kilobytes compared with 960 kilobytes a week earlier, shaving 0.02 seconds off its average home page load time and helping contribute to higher home page availability. The higher percentage of accurate home page loads and slightly faster load time helped the retailer move from No. 30, last place, on the Keynote Mobile Commerce Performance Index for the week ending March 2 to No. 21 for the week ending March 9

“Foot Locker rose up in the rankings this week by taking advantage of a much more reliable home page and by benefiting from an optimized mobile home page,” says Abelardo Gonzalez, mobile performance evangelist for Keynote. “The overall size of the Foot Locker home page was reduced by a little more than 100 kilobytes, which in turn helped it climb nine spots in the mobile retail ranking. That’s an impressive jump. Once again, it illustrates how it’s all about continual tweaks to keep pushing performance.”

Toolfetch.com LLC topped the Keynote Mobile Commerce Performance Index for the week ending March 9. Its average load time was 2.19 seconds and its success rate (also known as site availability) was 100% for a score of 1,000. Keynote weights and combines load time and success rate to reach a score. Toolfetch.com’s mobile home page contains seven elements weighing 62 kilobytes. Sears Holdings Corp. came in second with an average load time of 2.67 seconds and a success rate of 100% for a score of 974. Its mobile home page contains seven elements weighing 64 kilobytes.

Two of the 30 retailers on the index offer responsive design sites, which use a single code base, a single set of web content and responsive techniques to render versions of the site that fit the size of the screen on a device a consumer is using. This saves a retailer having to build separate sites for desktops, tablets, smartphones and other devices, and delivers content from a single URL, which tends to strengthen search engine rankings.

Fab.com, one of the responsive sites, came in at No. 25 with a load time of 17.51 seconds and a success rate of 99.63% for a score of 441. Fathead.com LLC, the other responsive site, came in at No. 27 with a load time of 17.09 seconds and a success rate of 99.46% for a score of 365. The No. 1 complaint about responsive design sites is that they load more slowly than standalone sites because responsive sites transmit more data to mobile web browsers than standalone sites. However, responsive design is quickly evolving in ways that improve performance.

The average load time for all 30 retailers on the index was 7.75 seconds, the average success rate was 99.44% and the average score was 695.

Click here then click on Keynote Mobile Commerce Performance Index Part 1 and Part 2 to view complete results for all 30 retailers on the index. Keynote measures, exclusively for Internet Retailer, 28 standalone m-commerce sites optimized for smartphones and two responsive design sites, which are single sites that render content in ways that fit the screen size of a device, including desktop PCs, tablets, smartphones and smart TVs. For the index, Keynote measures the smartphone versions of the responsive sites.

The 30 representative sites include merchants in multiple categories and channels, and of multiple sizes, ranging from such giants as Amazon.com Inc. to mid-sized retailers like Toolfetch.com. Keynote tests the sites in the index every hour Monday through Sunday from 8:00 a.m. through midnight EDT, emulating two different smartphones on two different wireless networks: Apple Inc.’s iPhone 5 on AT&T and the Samsung Galaxy SIII on T-Mobile, both using 4G networks. 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. To consistently rank high on the Keynote index, sites must hit availability targets of 99.5% or better and be faster than 10 seconds to load on average. Top-performing sites load in under five seconds.

While adoption among U.S. consumers has been steadily rising, only a fraction of all U.S. wireless connections are 4G. Consequently, retailers benchmarking their mobile commerce site performance against the Keynote index should keep in mind that most of their m-commerce site shoppers will experience page load times slower than those on the index.

 

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