2013-02-15 16:59:45 - Many UK retailers do a great job when it comes to the efficiency of their websites, and not all of them are household names.
That’s the finding of the latest Sitemorse Retail 500 Index, a benchmark of the very best websites of the UK’s top retailers. The testing of the 500 sites uses 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. We don’t judge a site on the way it looks, or how it reads, but purely on how well its users will find it works.
A significant number of the top 20 websites tested this time are from regional and less-well known names, proving the case that it’s often care and attention rather than large teams and
budgets that make the difference.
At the very top of the table are Anoushka London, the niche fashion and jewellery outlet that has performed consistently in recent surveys, nationally known furniture store DFS, and the perhaps less well-known Lancashire-based Pownall Carpets, who have been producing traditional carpets based on British wool for more than half a century.
Anoushka London’s website scored 9.37 out of a possible ten marks in our testing, an excellent result by any standards, but actually a slight drop on their previous score, just shading DFS at 9.34. DFS have long been at the top of our retail surveys, and their site scored top marks for code quality and the important criteria of accessibility.
Pownall Carpets have been in our retail top five for the last few years and take third place this time with 8.3/10, a rise of one place since our last survey of this sector in 2012. Just behind them are supermarket Aldi, Jo Alexander, a family-owned garden furniture business in the Cambridgeshire village of Knapwell, leather specialists Fendi , and furniture clearance site Beds Direct, all scoring in excess on 7/10 in our tests.
Some top 20 names you may not have heard of include Leeds-based men’s outfitters Racing Green, in eighth position, Greenhalgh’s Bakers, a thriving chain of retail shops serving the North-West of England, Knutsford-based linen clothing firm Vivi, women’s knitwear specialists Tulchan, situated on the border of Cumbria, Lancashire and North Yorkshire, Van Hage and company, which has spent 60 years building up three major garden centres ,and Palmers, a department store based in Great Yarmouth that boasts 175 years of history.
Names you may have heard of in our top twenty include convenience store Spar, Fortnum and Mason, H&M, Sofa Workshop and Adams Childrenswear.
Credit where it’s due, and climbing our Index this time are Elvi (+341), the UK’s fashion leader for sizes 16 and up, upmarket fashion chain Miu Miu (+285), chemists Rowlands Pharmacy (+273), the Watch Shop (+267) and prestige tailor Armani (+233). In contrast, the biggest fallers this time are fashion store Joseph , down 447 places, and Sports Direct, down 253.
Sitemorse concluded: It’s great to see a high standard of websites from the retail sector, and so often from companies who clearly pay the same kind of attention to their websites as they do to their overall marketing strategy. The companies named as having the best retail websites here cover a huge raft of different styles, products and locations, but what they all have in common is that they really care about the experience of their customers. Online, that translates to having an efficient website that gives customers an enjoyable experience, making them want to buy more online or visit the stores.
The winners here understand that having good online strategy and web governance are a winning formula that can no longer be ignored, at a time where those who have not been paying attention are perhaps paying the price.
About our surveys, and how they work
For more than a decade, Sitemorse has been the world's only single solution for web content governance, monitoring, recording and benchmarking.
Our unique Index publications, published several times a year, provide an up to the minute snapshot of the best and brightest business websites, with insight into which are passing – and failing - vital tests in performance, compliance, and accessibility.
Our software is used to test the sites of major organisations in a variety of sectors, (for example, FTSE All Share companies, and the UK Top 500 retail companies) to compile an index of who ‘does the web’ best.
Sitemorse is now the suite of choice for organisations wishing to ensure their sites provide total, holistic web governance and a great user experience. Our hundreds of clients across major corporates, local and national government, utilities, financials and the health sector rely on us to help them improve the performance, compliance and quality of their websites, delivering control and web confidence.
Web content management systems alone cannot hope to cover major issues such as performance, compliance, brand, accessibility and quality without help. Our products integrate (including pre-live checking - within your CMS) to ensure these vital areas are constantly under control.
We offer three levels of products, from our enterprise platform 'Governisation', a blend of governance and optimisation, to a new suite of tools called the Web Managers Toolkit, designed to help web teams, as well as free in-browser tools that can be used by any web user to quickly ensure pages are error-free. All our services are Software as a Service (SaaS) based, with no set-up or management and are designed to ensure that our hundreds of clients in major corporations, the financial sector, and central and local government have total confidence in their websites.
This survey took place on January 4, 2013 and involved benchmarking more than two million separate URLs. Poorest code quality was recorded for the Game site, with more than 820,000 failures. Fastest overall response time from any site tested was London jeweller Theo Fennell.
• More information about this survey and others can be seen on our website at www.sitemorse.com, together with information about our methodology and how we benchmark.
• For further Information: Geoff Paddock, Head of Communications on +44 20 7183 5588, gpaddock@Sitemorse.com