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Leading retail websites improve their performance in top 500 rankings for Q1

Strong performances at the top of the table of the best performing UK retail websites in Q1 has resulted in 26 of the top 30 merchants all moving upwards this quarter.By Glynn Davis


Leading retail websites improve their performance in top 500 rankings for Q1

According to the latest results from the quarterly testing of the Retail 500 of top UK online stores,six retailers entered the top 30 for the first time including Fendi, The Tulchan Group, The Watch Shop and Miu Miu, with the latter pair putting in particularly strong performances - having moved up 267 and 285 places respectively.

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.

Also among the raft of climbers was Anoushka London that moved up one place to dislodge DFS from the top spot with a score of 9.37 (the same as last quarter), whereas the sofa retailer managed only 9.34 this time compared with a table-topping 9.50 in Q4.

Lawrence Shaw, chief executive of Sitemorse, says: “It is a good sign that the upper echelons of the table had so many rising retailers as it clearly indicates a widespread improvement in the performance of those companies that take their websites seriously. But whether a continuation of this trend will see a divide grow between the top and bottom performers or signal an improvement across all the companies in the table remains to be seen.”

Other strong performers in the top section of the table included FeatureDECO, which moved up 143 places to 40th spot, Claire’s Accessories, up 154 places to 43rd place, and Rowlands Pharmacy, up 273 to 46th spot.

There was also a growing representation from the drinks trade in the top 50, with The Wine Society moving up 39 places to 34th spot, and Oddbins, up 25 places to 47th spot, which joined Bargain Booze, Fortnum & Mason, and The Whisky Shop among the retail industry’s better performers.

However, the drinks category also had its laggards, with The Sunday Times Wine Club in 449th spot, Naked Wines, in 442nd spot, and Laithwaites, in 424th spot, with each scoring less than two out of 10. This is a disappointing situation as each of these retailers increasingly relies on the internet for its sales.Of these, only The Sunday Times is in the bottom 10 for Q1 and it is among a mix bag of operators,from Conran Shop Holdings and Yves Rocher to value-driven retailers such as QS Group and non-store retailers including Grattan and electricals site 

Also within the ranks of this bottom 10 is Joseph, which was the biggest faller of the quarter having dropped a staggering 447 places, which takes it from third place in Q4 to 450th spot this time. It managed a score of only 1.66 out of 10 compared with an impressive 8.38 in Q4.

The final ranked table for Q1 includes only 454 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. This represents an increase in excluded sites as the table comprised 459 retailers when it was tested in Q4.
To view the survey results, click here.

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