October 19, 2011, 11:08 AM

An m-commerce site redesign hampers performance for Macy’s, Keynote finds

The size of the retailer’s home page greatly increased, adding seconds to load time.

Lead Photo

The merchant's m-commerce site performance suffered after a redesign last week.

A small but growing number of retailers are taking the next step with their mobile commerce sites—redesign. But adding features and functions to a site and subsequently increasing page size in kilobytes can be a recipe for slower performance, as is the case with the newly redesigned site of Macy’s Inc., finds mobile and web performance management firm Keynote Systems Inc. in the weekly Keynote Mobile Commerce Performance Index.

Macy’s, No. 17 in the Internet Retailer Mobile Commerce Top 300, launched its redesigned mobile site last week, and Keynote immediately noticed a significant change in the time it takes to completely load the site’s home page, the page that is measured for the index.

“Macy’s doubled the number of page objects and increased total page kilobyte size approximately five times,” says Herman Ng, mobile performance evangelist at Keynote Systems. “These changes significantly affected the site’s average page load time, which increased by 9.35 seconds to 23.19 seconds.”

In addition to a lengthy load time for the week ending Oct. 16, Macy’s had an unusually low success rate, the percentage of the time an m-commerce site home page downloads successfully. Its success rate was only 92.75%. The combination of load time and success rate earned Macy’s an index score of 130 out of 1,000.

The average score for the 30 retailers on the index was 697. The average load time was 10.06 seconds and the average success rate was 96.78%.

Macy’s says it launched a redesign to enhance shopping for mobile customers.

“We did make a significant improvement in our m-commerce site approach, with the specific intent of bringing a richer experience to our customers and driving closer alignment to our e-commerce experience from a feature and functionality perspective,” a Macy’s spokesman says. “This was in direct feedback we had from customers on the previous experience and in carefully crafted user experience tests.”

He adds that good site performance is a mobile goal, but that there are certain factors that are out of Macy’s control.

“Performance is always top of mind for us, and we continue to focus efforts on improving performance going forward,” he says. “Performance is also at the mercy of the quality of the connection.”

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 Amazon.com Inc., Sears Holdings Corp. and 1-800-Flowers.com Inc., to midsized retailers like Sunglass Hut and Toolfetch.com LLC. 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 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.

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