November 29, 2011, 3:39 PM

One vendor hosts four of the top five retailers on mobile performance index

Usablenet uses its cloud platform to speed load times.

Lead Photo

Jason Taylor, vice president of mobile products, Usablenet Inc.

M-commerce technology provider Usablenet Inc. is the power behind the throne of the top performers on this week’s Keynote Mobile Commerce Performance Index. Four of the top five retailers on the index—Dell Inc., Walgreen Co., CVS Caremark Corp. and Victoria’s Secret Direct—are Usablenet clients.

Mobile and web performance management firm Keynote Systems Inc. measures the load time—the amount of time it takes for a page to travel from a server to a smartphone and load completely—and success rate—the percentage of the time a page loads successfully—of the m-commerce site home pages of 30 representative retailers. This week, however, two retailers—Dell and Walgreens—presented splash pages first instead of the home page. A splash page promotes a special deal or a new feature; in both cases this week, the splash pages promoted the retailers’ mobile apps. Splash pages typically are lighter in the total number of kilobytes and thus may load faster than some home pages, depending on design.

Dell Inc. came in first on the index for the week ending Nov. 27 with a load time of 3.82 seconds and a success rate of 99.35% for a score of 993 out of 1,000. Sears Holdings Corp., which builds its m-commerce offerings in-house, came in second with a load time of 3.49 seconds and a success rate of 98.90% for a score of 968. Walgreens came in third with a load time of 5.65 seconds and a success rate of 99.33% for a score of 953. CVS came in fourth with a load time of 5.19 seconds and a success rate of 98.99% for a score of 938. And Victoria’s Secret came in fifth with a load time of 6.67 seconds and a success rate of 99.23% for a score of 925.

The index average load time was 9.39 seconds, the average success rate was 97.61% and the average score was 750.

Usablenet says its sites perform well because of the way it handles JavaScript and Cascading Style Sheets through its cloud mobile commerce platform. JavaScript is a web language used in designing sites. Cascading Styles Sheets define where elements such as images and text appear on a web page. A cloud is a group of web servers used to store data or perform functions.

“The Usablenet platform moves the majority of JavaScript needed on its mobile sites to the server side within the cloud. This results in the mobile end user getting a very light, fast page with limited need to download heavy JavaScript,” says Jason Taylor, vice president of mobile products. “In addition the Usablenet cloud-based platform determines the device being used and adjusts the image type and size according to the specific phone, along with optimized Cascading Styles Sheets so the pages are maximized for mobile device use.”

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 and 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. Keynote 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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