February 17, 2017, 11:45 AM

Groupon improves its mobile site speed

Online retailer Groupon cuts the time it takes for its mobile home page to load on smartphones.

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Groupon Inc. jumped to No. 7 from No. 20 on the January mobile performance index, which ranks the top 100 retailers’ mobile sites according to speed with data provided by digital performance analytics company Catchpoint Systems Inc.

The Groupon mobile site did not make any major changes to the size of its mobile site, the number of hosts or number of items (also known as requests) when comparing this month’s data gathered between Jan. 16-29 with the previous month’s index, which gathered data Dec. 19-Jan. 1. Yet, Groupon’s mobile site loaded, on average, in 1.59 seconds in January compared with 1.91 seconds in December.

The retailer did, however, remove a redirect on its home page, says Mehdi Daoudi, CEO at Catchpoint Systems. A redirect is when a website automatically sends a visitor to a new preplanned destination. For example, a redirect can send a consumer to a new version of a website with a new URL, or it can send a user to a different page on the website.  One common example of this occurs when a retailer has a separate mobile site and redirects a consumer who accesses its site on a smartphone to its mobile-specific site. The URL typically begins with “m.”  

“Groupon's mobile site [previously] was configured to redirect to a subscriptions page,” Daoudi says. “This was removed on Jan. 5, which cut down the load time by a few milliseconds and pushed Groupon higher in the January rankings." Groupon, No. 26 in the Internet Retailer 2016 Top 500 Guide, did not respond to a request for comment.

Internet Retailer and Catchpoint Systems produce two monthly site performance indexes, one for mobile sites and one for desktop sites, ranking the 10 fastest retailers among the top 100 retailers in the Internet Retailer 2016 Top 500 Guide.

For the two weeks of Jan. 16-29, the average page weight for the 100 retailers was 1.93 megabytes compared with 1.85 megabytes during the two week period Dec. 19-Jan.1, and the average number of hosts was 44, the same as the previous month. The average number of items was 137 compared with 136 the previous month. The top 100 e-retailers’ mobile sites were, on average, 99.86% available for the January index compared with 99.90% available the previous month.

Catchpoint Systems monitors each website’s home page with measurements taken from Catchpoint Systems’ in-country or in-region monitoring nodes, at intervals of five minutes for two weeks each month. Backbone monitoring nodes are the locations of Catchpoint’s devices that are near data centers operated by the main Internet Service Providers that provide service to a city. The nodes simulate end-user contact with each website. Catchpoint monitors webpage load time, availability, hosts and items. They are defined as follows:

Web page load time: The time it takes for enough page elements to load for a consumer to begin interacting with a page, such as searching, tapping or scrolling. From a consumer point of view, it’s the time it takes for the progress bar or spinning wheel to stop.

Availability: The percentage of time during the test week that the site can be successfully reached by a consumer.

Host: Any domain that delivers data, content or services over the internet to the site.

Items: Also known as requests. Webpage components, such as files or images that a page loads from internal and external hosts or domains. These can include PDFs, PNGs, JPEGs and GIFs.

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