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July Rankings of Top 50 Retail Websites

UK's largest retailer Tesco has taken the top spot with its Tesco Direct website in the table of the Top 50 UK retail sites tested in July for The Retail Bulletin, while the overall performance of the top websites has broadly improved. By Glynn Davis

GENERAL MERCHANDISE

July Rankings of Top 50 Retail Websites

The list of sites has been created by The Retail Bulletin and specialist website testing company Sitemorse that used its automated testing of the first 125 pages of each retailer’s site to generate a ranked table.Lawrence Shaw, founder of Sitemorse, says: “We can see from the table that the average score of the top five, excepting DFS, has increased since last month. We hope this trend will continue right through to Christmas.”

There was also a lot of change this month in the rankings with Carphone Warehouse the most improved site as it jumped 29 places into fifth spot as a result of its score increasing from 3.92 out of 10 to 6.18.Toys R US also had an impressive month moving up 27 places to fourth spot while Ted Baker moved up the same amount to sixth place. Also advancing into a top 10 place, with its recently re-launched website, is Firebox.

Attaining seventh place marks Firebox out as the best performing pure play retailer in the table. Lawrence suggests all online-only businesses should be scoring just as well since this is their only channel to market.But this is not the case and many others performed particularly badly, with ASOS dropping 29 places to 37th spot, Net-a-Porter falling 25 places to 27th place – a swift exit from the second place it held last month, and Figleaves falling 12 places to 32nd spot. Other big pure play retailers continued to deliver dire performances with Play.com, eBay and Amazon.co.uk all remaining in the bottom 10 with scores of less than three out of 10.

One of the most surprising performances came from Very.co.uk, the re-branded Littlewoods Direct business, which managed to score a mere 2.84 and languish in 41st place. “Considering it’s a site that puts itself out as web 2.0 perhaps they should have fixed some of the basics. Anybody that launches a site with such a fanfare should do better. Some of the very basics of the internet are missing,” says Shaw.He highlights the fact that if you type in Very.co.uk into the browser it does not find the site, which suggests the web address has been set up incorrectly. And the site’s effectiveness at being picked up by the search engines is severely impacted by 97 per cent of Very’s web pages not having a description and 67 per cent not having a title.

Very is not the only site facing criticism from Shaw as he highlights the fact some of the UK’s biggest retail names continue to fail the Sitemorse accessibility tests, which make it possible for visually impaired people to use websites. The culprits with 100 per cent of their pages failing are Boots, B&Q, Figleaves, Next, Play.com, Thorntons and WH Smith.“I can’t believe the people who are running these sites know that they are failing so badly. Either they are in denial or they have been led to believe everything is okay by their service providers,” suggests Shaw.

Here's the July table and commentary.

We are keen to hear your thoughts on the Top 50 table - whether you agree with the constituents or you think there are companies that should be included instead. Please get in touch at glynnd@theretailbulletin.com and we’ll see what we can do.

About Sitemorse

Sitemorse checks compliance, measures performance and tests function of your websites, by reading content, checking code and reviewing infrastructure to reduce risk caused by on-line failure. From single page monitoring to a complete site review, Sitemorse provides both management summaries and detailed technical reports (down to the line in the code).

glynnd@theretailbulletin.com

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