June Website Rankings of Retailers
To better reflect the largest and more pro-active names in multi-channel and online retail a new list of the top 50 UK websites has been created, and will be exclusively tested each month, for The Retail Bulletin. By Glynn Davis
The new list of retail sites has been compiled by specialist website testing company Sitemorse with the aim of having a more focused selection of names compared with the former list of 150 disparate and varied sites.
Sitemorse uses its automated testing of the first 125 pages of each retailer’s site to generate a ranked table based on their relative performances according to various criteria (described below) and for this inaugural month the leader of the pack by a significant margin is DFS
It scored an impressive 9.54 out of 10, almost two whole points ahead of second-placed Net-a-Porter with 6.74. Lawrence Shaw, founder of Sitemorse, says: “DFS is known for good advertising and marketing and they clearly regard their online presence in just the same light. They achieve good scores across the board.”
As for Net-a-porter, Shaw says its high ranking is exactly where a pure play should be positioned as their whole business is clearly reliant on their performance online. Some other pure plays do not perform quite so well, with Play.com in 41st spot, Amazon in 46th place and eBay just behind in 47th spot.
In third place is John Lewis Direct with 6.48 out of 10, which is a score that suggests it is replicating online the level of service it provides in its high street department stores. Taking a look at the performance of other similar operators shows Debenhams with a credible 5.36 out of 10 in 12th place.
This places it well within the top 20 that Shaw says represents the cut-off point below which signifies a generally poor performance. Department stores below this level include House of Fraser in 21st spot and Harrods in 37th place with a score of 3.66.
“Scoring only a third of the possible marks is not a message that you’d expect Harrods to deliver. It is cutting-edge with its in-store digital signage so it’s not like it has an aversion to technology,” suggests Shaw.
Bottom of the department store pile is Marks & Spencer in a lowly 45th place and just one place above it is online-only department store Littlewoods Direct that Shaw says suffers badly from having 95 per cent of its pages without a title and 38 per cent not having a description.
These are essential requirements for all websites as they are picked up by the search engines. This represents a worry to Shaw who says: “This is a basic requirement and I continue to question the many web agencies that work for retailers and who dismiss such errors. I wonder who is telling Littlewoods that everything is okay with its site because clearly it is not.”
This is a surprising fault to find with the Littlewoods website because in only October 2007 it moved its reported £7 million search spend to agency Unique Digital and Mike Wheeler, search manager at Littlewoods’ parent company Shop Direct, has stated that “paid search growth is key towards achieving” its aim of growing its online business.
In contrast to Littlewoods’ failure to add titles and descriptions to its pages, Asos has them on every page, which contributed to it occupying eighth spot in the table with a score of 5.56.
To see the rankings click here
We are keen to hear your thoughts on the new top 50 table and whether you agree with the constituents. If you think there are any companies that should be included at the expense of others then please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll see what we can do.
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).
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