January 18, 2011, 3:58 PM

StrandBooks.com and Walmart.com are the mobile performers to beat

Retailers can learn m-commerce site performance lessons from these merchants, Keynote says.

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The m-commerce site of StrandBooks.com is lightweight and built for speed, Keynote Systems says.

For the third consecutive week, StrandBooks.com topped the Keynote Mobile Commerce Performance Index for the week ending Jan. 14, its m-commerce site home page loading on average in a fast 2.58 seconds and doing so successfully 98.75% of the time. Walmart.com came in second for the third week in a row, its mobile home page loading in 3.61 seconds with a success rate of 98.69%, as measured by mobile and web performance management firm Keynote Systems Inc. exclusively for Internet Retailer.

For the last 12 weeks, StrandBooks.com has ranked within the top two positions, while Walmart.com has ranked within the top five positions. There are good reasons why both sites have performed so well and so consistently for that long,” says Herman Ng, mobile performance evangelist at Keynote Systems. “StrandBooks.com has the smallest number of objects and overall page weight when compared to all the other sites on Keynote’s m-commerce index, and it also has been optimized for feature phones in addition to smartphones. It returns only five objects for smartphones and two objects for feature phones. In either case the mobile site only contains one domain with an average page size of 13 bytes. All this optimization makes the StrandBooks.com a very fast site indeed.”

The m-commerce site of Walmart.com also is highly optimized. It keeps to a minimum the number of objects, items on a page such as a picture or block of text. And like StrandBooks.com, it contains a minimal number of domains, the routes through which mobile content travels. The fewer the domains, the fewer the chances for latency to affect performance.

“Walmart.com’s mobile site doesn’t have the least number of objects compared to other mobile sites on the index, which have up to 12 objects, but the site is optimized with only three objects for feature phones,” Ng says. “And its mobile site also only contains one domain, with an average page size of 24 bytes. There is much to learn from the site construction of StrandBooks.com and Walmart.com. They have both succeeded at designing their mobile sites to work efficiently within the parameters and unique challenges presented by a mobile environment while still providing the end user with all the relevant content—not an easy feat.”

Click here then click on Keynote Mobile Commerce Performance Index to see the results for all 15 retailers.

Keynote Systems measures 15 representative m-commerce sites exclusively for Internet Retailer. The sites include merchants in various categories and channels, and of various sizes, ranging from such giants as Sears Holdings Corp. and Foot Locker Inc. to midsized retailers like Sunglass Hut and K&L Wine Merchants. Keynote repeatedly tests the sites in the index Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. through midnight Eastern time, emulating three different smartphones on three different wireless networks: Apple Inc.’s iPhone on AT&T, the BlackBerry Curve on Sprint and the Droid (which uses Google Inc.’s Android operating system) on Verizon. Keynote combines a site’s load time and success rate, equally weighted, into a single score. Given 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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