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Garden retailers’ websites enjoy moment in the sun with strong Q2 performance

With Chelsea Flower Show running this month it is clearly a high profile period for gardens and so it is rather timely that three garden-related retailers occupy positions in the top 25 of the table of the best performing UK retail websites in Q2. By Glynn Davis


Garden retailers’ websites enjoy moment in the sun with strong Q2 performance

The findings are revealed in the latest results from the quarterly testing of the Sitemorse Retail 500 of top UK online stores.

The move up 59 places to 20th spot by garden furniture specialist Jo Alexander means it positions it with Bridgemere Nursery & Garden World in 17th place and Wyevale Garden Centres in 25th spot, among the best performing retail websites in the country in Q2.

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.

Lawrence Shaw, chief executive of Sitemorse, says: “At a time when the profile of gardening is at its highest among consumers in the UK it is pleasing to see that the top 25 places in the table includes three operators from the gardening category. This is certainly an area that is proving increasingly popular and it is good to see merchants in this area delivering a strong level of web performance to their green-fingered customers.”

Each of the three garden retailers achieved creditable scores of more than 6.50 out of 10 but they still have some way to go if they are to match the best performer of Q2, jewellery retailer Anoushka London. It scored an impressive 9.37 out of 10 to dislodge DFS from its number one perch as the sofa retailer scored 9.14 compared with its table-topping 9.70 in Q1.

Just behind is Walter Smith a Birmingham-based butcher that has been in business since 1885 and which scored 8.94 out of 10. “Its high placing highlights how smaller players can deliver strong performing websites (it is not just about having lots of resources) and it also shows how the best long-living businesses are those that adapt best to change and take up challenges,” suggests Shaw.

Unfortunately not everything is rosy in the retail websites garden during Q2. The bottom end of the table includes a batch of heavy fallers including: Elvi (down 168 places to 429th spot); Virgin Wines (down 248 to 433); Reid Furniture (down 175 to 434); Sunday Times Wine Club (down 300 to 454); Tesco Direct (down 386 to 455); and Tissot (down 186 to 463).

However, these were all eclipsed by the biggest faller of the quarter that collapsed 439 places to 464th spot with a score of 1.62, which is a rapid turnaround from Q1 when the retailer jumped 167 places to a very impressive 25th spot with a score of 6.70. 

This performance is all the more disappointing when you consider that is an online-only operator so it is entirely reliant on the business that comes via its website. It is a similar story with drinks retailer Slurp that is placed second from bottom in the table with a score of 1.36 out of 10 that prompted a fall of 14 places.

The final ranked table includes only 471 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.

Sitemorse is now the suite of choice for organisations wishing to ensure their sites provide total, holistic web governance and a great user experience. Hundreds of clients across major corporates, local and national government, utilities, financials and the health sector rely on Sitemorse to help them improve the performance, compliance and quality of their websites, delivering control and web confidence. 

Click here to view the report.

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