Website benchmark - Retail sector furnishes some high quality websites – and a few porky pies!
23 May 2012
If you’re buying your designer sofa on the high street then you might well shop at Conran or at DFS, so you could be forgiven for thinking the two stores were head to head on the web as well as in-store – but you ‘d be mistaken, according to new research from Sitemorse.
That’s because the DFS website is one of the top three performers in the UK retail sector – while the Conran Holdings website is at the very bottom of a list of nearly 500 retailers. While DFS’s website scores more than nine out of ten on our criteria, Conran Holdings achieves just 1.3 out of ten.
The comparison spotlights the large divide in the retail sector between the most efficient websites – ones that work well with few or no errors and are accessible to all users, and ones which are riddled with errors and which have no pages that are accessible to disabled and semi-disabled web users.
A very few sites including the ‘posh grocer’ Fortnum and Mason – just seven in this sector – are classed by Sitemorse as error-free, while others such as Tesco Direct and Amazon UK fail accessibility tests on every page.
Sitemorse conducts regular surveys of the websites of businesses and organisations and has been benchmarking and publishing the detailed results for a decade. The full results from this and other recent surveys can be seen on our website.
The very best websites among UK retailers are largely unchanged, with Anoushka, selling jewellery and high quality evening wear in the West End of London, on top with nearly 9.5 out of ten possible marks. Others at the top are DFS, Pownall Carpets, high class shirtmakers Turnbull and Asser, and high street grocer, Spar UK.
Joining the top performers is a new website from Birmingham-based butchers Walter Smith, famous since 1885 for the quality of their pork pies and meat products. One of their choicer cuts is their new website, which we marked as just under nine out of ten, and it’s come from nowhere to take third place in the benchmark.
Some massive climbs this quarter from the websites of Manor Pharmacy, Blue Inc, Diamonds .com and Suttons, and also JD Sports – all moved more than 300 places up our table. Posh brands Asprey and Hermes are moving upwards near the top-placed retailers, while lesser-known sellers like Bridgemere Nurseries garden centre on the Cheshire/Shropshire border and Bolton-based bakers Greenhalghs are also both in the top 20 websites. Congrats also to Costco and Aldi, both near the top and moving upwards.
Where there are risers, there are also fallers, and myvintage.co.uk fell an incredible 439 places from near the top to near the bottom of the table – if they like to contact us we’ll try to help find out why. No champagne corks popping at the Sunday Times Wine Club, which lost its sparkle and 300 places on our survey table. Tesco Direct are also down massively, losing 386 places with a score of less than two out of ten.
The rather familiar mix of high-street giants are at the bottom of the table, perhaps the opposite of where they should be. Apart from the previously-mentioned Conran, Mothercare, Waterstones, HMV and Homebase all score less than two out of ten.
Sitemorse concluded: Worryingly, some of the well-known retailers who don’t score well in our tests sell online as well as through stores – Phones R U, Levi Strauss and Next, for example, which makes us wonder how many potential sales are being lost because users find errors when trying to buy. Also near the bottom of the table are brands such as Figleaves and Amazon UK, who are dependent on the web for all their sales. It does seem odd that some retailers can have efficient, error free sites when others do not – it’s not so much a matter of budget but the will to improve that’s at stake.
About our surveys, and how they work
For more than a decade, Sitemorse has been the world's only single solution for web content governance, monitoring, recording and benchmarking.
Our unique Index publications, published several times a year, provide an up to the minute snapshot of the best and brightest business websites, with insight into which are passing – and failing - vital tests in performance, compliance, and accessibility.
Our software is used to test the sites of major organisations in a variety of sectors, (for example, FTSE All Share companies, and the UK Top 500 retail companies) to compile an index of who ‘does the web’ best.
Sitemorse is now the suite of choice for organisations wishing to ensure their sites provide total, holistic web governance and a great user experience. Our hundreds of clients across major corporates, local and national government, utilities, financials and the health sector rely on us to help them improve the performance, compliance and quality of their websites, delivering control and web confidence.
Web content management systems alone cannot hope to cover major issues such as performance, compliance, brand, accessibility and quality without help. Our products integrate (including pre-live checking - within your CMS) to ensure these vital areas are constantly under control.
We offer three levels of products, from our enterprise platform 'Governisation', a blend of governance and optimisation, to a suite of tools to help web editors and managers, as well as free in-browser tools that can be used by any web user to quickly ensure pages are error-free (our web managers toolkit). All our services are SaaS based, with no set-up or management and are designed to ensure that our hundreds of clients in major corporations, the financial sector, and central and local government have total confidence in their websites.
This survey took place on April 16, 2012 and involved benchmarking more than two million separate URLs. Poorest code quality was recorded for the DIY giant Wickes site, with more than 500,000 failures. Fastest overall response time from any site tested was the grocery chain Londis.
For further Information: Geoff Paddock, Head of Communications on +44 1525 375057, gpaddock@Sitemorse.com
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