December 7, 2011, 9:51 AM

Sears, Staples and J.C. Penney top mobile performance index

But three retailers are excised because they made a splash.

Lead Photo

The merchant used a splash page that preceded its m-commerce site home page to promote its app.

Sears Holdings Corp., Staples Inc. and J.C. Penney Co. Inc. topped this week’s Keynote Mobile Commerce Performance Index with very high scores and speedy page load times.

For the week ending Dec. 4, Sears came in first: Its m-commerce site home page loaded on average in 3.91 seconds and it did so successfully 99.44% of the time. These measures earned it a perfect score of 1,000, according to mobile and web performance management firm Keynote Systems Inc. Staples came in second with a load time of 6.38 seconds and a success rate of 99.33% for a score of 946.

J.C. Penney came in third with a load time of 6.45 seconds and a success rate of 99.32% for a score of 945. Best Buy Co. Inc. came in fourth with a load time of 6.68 seconds and a success rate of 99.12% for a score of 928. And came in fifth with a load time of 6.29 seconds and a success rate of 98.71% for a score of 910.

The index average load time was 10.15 seconds, the average success rate was 97.03% and the average score was 735.

Sears is No. 21 in the Internet Retailer Mobile Commerce Top 300. Staples is No. 13, J.C. Penney No. 26, Best Buy No. 16 and No. 4.

Dell Inc., Nordstrom Inc. and Walgreen Co. did not register on this week’s performance index. This is because of a web site redirection practice occasionally used by retailers and other companies.

“These retailers were not ranked in this week’s index because they decided to serve a splash page first rather than taking customers directly to an m-commerce site home page,” says Haroon Chohan, mobile performance expert at Keynote Systems. “A splash page provides an inaccurate picture when it comes to measuring site response time because a splash page contains very little content and the load time is not representative of hitting an actual home page.”

A splash page is a web page promoting a single theme that precedes the appearance of a home page; splash pages generally are much lighter in kilobytes than home pages and thus can load much faster than home pages. For example, a splash page might feature a picture of an iPhone with text urging users to download the iPhone app rather than use the m-commerce web site. As a result of rendering a splash page, Dell, Nordstrom and Walgreens are not included this week because the index measures m-commerce site home pages.

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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