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B&Q is most improved website among UK’s Top 500 retail sites in Q4

B&Q has powered up the table of the UK’s top 500 retail websites to be the most improved site in Q4. By Glynn Davis

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B&Q is most improved website among UK’s Top 500 retail sites in Q4

B&Q has powered up the table of the UK’s top 500 retail websites to be the most improved site in Q4. By Glynn Davis

The company takes a place in the top 20 best performing online stores in the latest quarterly testing undertaken by specialist Sitemorse.

The DIY store’s online proposition moved up an impressive 372 places to 18th spot with a score of 6.30 out of 10, which compares with its 390th position in Q3 when it scored only 2.14. And in Q2 it was in lowly 404th spot.

The improvement is down to a serious investment of £60 million on the B&Q infrastructure. Michael Durbridge, director of omni-channel at B&Q, says: “The new responsive website is a key element of our investment but it is much more than just about the web. It also involves new customer management and ordering systems.”

Previously B&Q ran them off separate platforms but with the new infrastructure they will be on the same platform that Durbridge says will enable much more complex omni-channel capabilities to be delivered. The company runs ATG, Oracle and SAP technology across its business.

Lawrence Shaw, chief executive of Sitemorse, says: “It has been an exceptional rise up the table for B&Q and highlights how investment in new technology can have a massively beneficial impact on the performance of retailers’ websites when they don’t just look to create a flashy front-end but also tie it together with the back-end infrastructure.”

The testing of the 500 sites is undertaken by Sitemorse using automated software that, page-by-page reads the first 125 pages of each retailer’s sites to generate a ranked table based on checks to Quality, User Experience, Accessibility, Performance and SEO capability of each of the websites.

B&Q is joined in the top 20 of the table by other newcomers among the best performers including Suit Direct that jumped 75 places to eighth spot and Beds Direct, which climbed 18 places to 12th spot.

However, they could not dislodge this quarter’s new leader of the pack, clothing firm Mexx, which moved up one place to take the top spot with a score of 8.28 out of 10. It pushed aside Pownall Carpets that scored only marginally less - with a creditable 8.12. It was followed by Bargain Booze that nudged up one place into third spot and W Boyes & Co that edged up two places to fourth spot.

Other big climbers in Q4 include: shoe retailer Schuh that moved up 335 places to 102nd spot; Bally Group rose 208 places to 191st spot; Laura Ashley jumped 197 places to 54th spot; and Optical Express climbed 190 places to 74th spot.

In contrast, there were some major fallers this quarter, including: Blacks Outdoor Division that dropped 221 places to 385th spot; 99p Stores fell 220 places to 398th spot; and Toymaster dipped 206 places to 267th spot.

 It was disappointing to see big names Harvey Nichols slipping 187 places and Zara (UK) off by 200 places, which yet again highlights how the bigger retail names can find the performance of their websites very changeable from quarter to quarter and therefore the need to be constantly monitored and developed in order to deliver the best ongoing experience for customers.

At the bottom end of the table Tesco Direct and M and M Direct were among the recognisable names to slip into the bottom 20 in Q4 although they escaped the ignominy of being bottom-placed this quarter as this was attributed to newcomer to the table 365Diamond.com.

The final ranked table for Q3 includes only 439 retailers because merchants were excluded from the testing if they used assistive technology such as JavaScript, which breaks the general “rules of accessibility” of internet sites, according to Sitemorse.

 Click here to see full results.

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