Keynote spells out how some retailers can improve mobile site performance.
Bill Siwicki , Managing Editor, Mobile Commerce
Chain retailer W.W. Grainger Inc. topped the Keynote Mobile Commerce Performance Index for the week ending March 10. Its mobile commerce web site home page loaded on average in 4.30 seconds and it did so completely and successfully 99.46% of the time, reports mobile and web performance management firm Keynote. Weighting and then combining load time and success rate give Grainger an index score of 938 out of 1,000.
TV retailer HSN Inc. came in second with a load time of 5.23 seconds and a success rate of 99.56% for a score of 931. Barnes & Noble was third with a load time of 5.47 seconds and a success rate of 99.46% for a score of 909.
Toolfetch.com LLC came in fourth with a load time of 3.24 seconds and a success rate of 99.02% for a score of 895. And Target Corp. came in fifth with a load time of 8.36 seconds and a success rate of 99.67% for a score of 871.
Grainger is No. 76 in the Internet Retailer Mobile 400, HSN No. 14, BarnesandNoble.com Inc. No. 31, Toolfetch.com No. 248 and Target No. 34.
The index average load time is 9.67 seconds, the average success rate is 98.82% and the average score is 701.
There are opportunities for performance improvement that some retailers on the index can exploit, says Ken Harker, mobile performance expert at Keynote.
“Managing third-party additions to a mobile web page is critical to managing the consumer’s experience,” he says. “Third-party tags, which typically require a server call, often load before critical page content. This includes services like marketing analytics and social networking buttons loading before key images necessary for the user impression of the page. Another issue is the number of domains in total. Too many domains may forcefirst-time site visitors to do as many as 10 DNS look-ups, which on 3G wireless networks can each take 350-600 milliseconds or longer.”
A DNS look-up links a web site’s alphabetical address, such as Retailer.com, to its lengthy numerical address, which web users never see.
“The best strategy for a fast mobile browser user experience is to limit the number of overall domains on a page, including the number of third-party domains, and to ensure that all third-party tags load only after critical page content,” Harker says. He advises limiting internal domains to two and limiting third-party domains to two.
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.