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October Rankings of Top 50 Retail Websites

HMV moves up the chart, but should the book be thrown at Waterstone's?


October Rankings of Top 50 Retail Websites

HMV moves up the chart, but should the book be thrown at Waterstone's?

HMV moves up the chart, but should the book be thrown at Waterstone's?

HMV is the biggest climber in the October table of the top 50 UK retail websites in a month that has seen very few big swings, which suggests retailers are making only minor modifications to their online stores ahead of the vital Christmas period.

By Glynn Davis

The media retailer moved up 21 places to secure tenth spot with a score of 4.52 out of 10 whereas the rest of the table shows very few other moves of this magnitude unlike other months when the table’s constituents tend to be in a great state of flux.

The list of sites tested has been created jointly 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.

The success of HMV has undoubtedly been down to the work undertaken to its website by its new web agency that has overhauled much of the proposition. A spokesman for HMV says this has involved enhancing the layout and richness of the content and more recently significantly improving the search engine functionality and navigation via Endeca.

Waterstone’s is the biggest faller of the month with a score of 2.16. This poor performance is strange as it is part of HMV Group, which suggests that the company swiftly undertake the same successful exercise with the book website as it has with its HMV site.

This is part of the group’s policy of constantly changing and evolving its web presence.
Lawrence Shaw, CEO of Sitemorse, says it is essential that websites are not “preserved in aspic” and should instead be treated almost as living entities that react to changing customer demands and swiftly adapt to the changing use of the technology.

The rest of the top 10 shows very stable performances, with DFS retaining its place at the top of the table with an impressive score of 8.78, which significantly outperforms its 6.98 of last month.

A major disappointment, according to Shaw, is the continued lack of pure plays at the upper end of the table as only Net a Porter, in ninth place, is listed in the top 10. And in the top 20 it is joined by only one more pure internet retailer Firebox that sits in 19th places despite its fall of six places this month.

At the other end of the table there continues to be an over-representation of large multi-channel retailers including the perennial poor performers Dixons, WH Smith, Boots, eBay, PC World and Amazon. It is worrying that they all remain in these low positions at this stage of the year because it is unlikely that they will now be able to make sufficient changes to improve their websites in time for the Christmas rush.

This month, Mothercare is in the bottom spot with a score of 1.87 out of 10.


To see the rankings click here

Sitemorse will be giving free one to one website testing consultations at the Retail Bulletins’ Multi Channel Retail Conference – January 19th 2010. The consultations will be completely confidential and will give delegates the opportunity to benchmark their own websites. Registration to the conference is free to retailers. If you would like to book a private one to one consultation with Sitemorse then email Jane Hooper -

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