September 27, 2011, 4:50 PM

Sears drops some page elements and improves mobile site performance, Keynote finds

The retailer’s m-commerce site home page loads in a swift 3.59 seconds.

Lead Photo

The department store merchant's m-commerce site topped this week's Keynote Mobile Commerce Performance Index.

Tweaks to its mobile commerce site home page drove Sears Holdings Corp. up three spots to No. 1 on the Keynote Mobile Commerce Performance Index for the week ending Sept. 25. The department store retailer dropped select elements, such as images or text boxes, on its home page, which in turn decreased the amount of time it takes for its mobile web servers to load the home page onto smartphones.

“Sears pulled ahead this week to top the retail mobile ranking as they reap the advantages of site construction optimization,” says Abelardo Gonzalez, mobile performance expert at mobile and web performance management firm Keynote Systems Inc. “By reducing the number of elements, as Sears has done for their mobile site, performance and variability have improved since the mobile browser has to perform less round trips to the server which are very costly in terms of time when traveling through the wireless carriers’ data network.”

Sears did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The merchant is No. 21 in the Internet Retailer Mobile Commerce Top 300; Internet Retailer projects Sears m-commerce revenue will hit $31.7 million this year.

Securely in the top spot, the m-commerce site home page of Sears loaded on average in 3.59 seconds and did so successfully 98.80% of the time for an index score of 988 out of 1,000. Dell Inc. came in second with a load time of 5.23 seconds and a success rate of 98.97% for a score of 956. And Walgreen Co. came in third with a load time of 6.29 seconds and a success rate of 98.81% for a score of 929.

The average load time for all 30 retailers on the index was 10.15 seconds. The average success rate was 97.01% and the average score was 798.

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 various categories and channels, and of various sizes, ranging from such giants as Inc., Sears Holdings Corp. and Inc., to midsized retailers like Sunglass Hut, LLC and Your Electronic Warehouse. Keynote tests the sites in the index every hour Monday through Sunday from 8 a.m. through midnight Eastern time, emulating four different smartphones on four different wireless networks: Apple Inc.’s iPhone 4 on AT&T, the HTC Evo on Sprint, the BlackBerry Curve on T-Mobile and the Droid X on Verizon. The HTC Evo and the Droid X run Google Inc.’s Android operating system. It runs the tests in Chicago, Dallas, New York and San Francisco.

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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