Aldi, Spar and Baltic’s Maxima chain dominate top retail websites

The top global retail websites are run by the Aldi and Spar supermarket chains and the largest employer in the Baltic states, Maxima Grupe, according to the latest benchmark of the sector from Sitemorse.

Online PR News – 05-October-2012 – London October 2012 – The top global retail websites are run by the Aldi and Spar supermarket chains and the largest employer in the Baltic states, Maxima Grupe, according to the latest benchmark of the sector from Sitemorse.

Overall scores in the survey of 227 sites in total (a number of sites were excluded from the testing process as they use assistive technology such as JavaScript, which breaks the general “rules of accessibility” of internet sites) were on the low side, however, with some major online retailers getting generally low scores.

Sitemorse uses its automated software to read the first 125 pages of each retailer’s site and places them in a ranked table of relative performance based on six key criteria - function, code quality, user experience, accessibility, performance and SEO capability.

Discount food retailer ALDI Group has become one of the world's biggest grocery chains, running more than 9,800 stores worldwide. ALDI (short for "Albrecht Discounts") has many stores in Europe and the USA, but Germany, where ALDI has about 4,300 stores, accounts for about two-thirds of sales.

ALDI was co-founded by brothers Karl and the late Theo Albrecht. Our benchmark found the Aldi website to score just shy of eight out of a possible ten marks, the best overall score in the sector, and we gave the site full marks for code quality. Aldi has risen seven places in the table since the last survey in Q2.

Spar is no stranger to the top of the Sitemorse retail sector survey, and has previously been winners. This time the chain has kept its no.2 placing as in our previous survey, with an overall score of 7.4. Founded in Holland in 1932 SPAR is now the world’s largest international food retail chain, and is also the UK’s leading convenience store group, with a turnover in excess of £2.7billion, employing more than 50,000 people in the UK alone.

In the third spot is Maxima Grupe, a retail chain from Lithuania which has operations in Latvia, Estonia and Bulgaria and which is now the largest employer in the Baltic states. In our benchmark the Maxima Grupe website scored 7.3 out of a possible 10, again with a high score for code quality. Also in the top five retailers tested was C&A Europe and South African retailer Inditex, both with scores around seven.

Climbing up the table this time are Canadian DIY chain RONA, up 128 places, and US clothes retailer Abercrombie & Fitch, up 90 to take 110th place.

On their way down the table are US paint makers Sherwin Williams, down 56, Japanese chain store Best Denki, down 110 places and convenience store franchisers 7-eleven, down 167 places.

Computer game retailer, Game Group, has had its troubles over the last few months, and the company dropped 11 places down our survey to 21, taking it firmly out of the top ten. Better news for Alliance Boots, however, up 70 places to take eighth spot this time with a score of 6.6. Spanish supermarket chain Mercadona has dropped 14 places to end up 15th this time.

The survey’s not great news for some of the top international retailers. H E Butt of the USA is just kept off the ‘bottom’ of the table by the Japanese fashion retailer Isetan; neither website could manage as much as one mark out of ten by our criteria. Other big international names towards the bottom of our benchmark include Home Depot, Macys and Woolworths of the USA, Toys R Us, HMV and Pet Smart, Next and Amazon.

Nobody likes a slow-running website and our survey has a table of how long the sites tested took to load the homepage. We found the fastest website was that of clothing retailer H&M Hennes. Levels of accessibility – something now backed up by law – were generally low, and 14 sites failed basic accessibility tests on every page.

Sitemorse concluded: Despite a number of the websites tested being the principal sales channel for their retailers, we’re still surprised at how many errors and minor faults there are to bring them down. In the face of evidence to show that web users will abandon sales if they encounter difficulties, we are still seeing low marks in the retail sector which suggests big retailers are losing potential income because of poor sites. It’s not just the online retailers, many high street stores are in the same position. So although we are constantly told that times are hard in retail sales, it seems the retailers haven’t thought about investing to improve the quality of their sites, and hence probably their sales. As Mr. Spock would have said… “Illogical” ….

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 suite of tools to help web editors and managers, as well as free in-browser tools that can be used by any web user to quickly ensure pages are error-free (our web managers toolkit). All our services are 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.

Technical Data

This survey involved benchmarking more than 887,000 separate URLs. Poorest code quality was recorded for the US store Macy’s site, with more than 400,000 failures, an improvement on last time. Just two sites were officially “error-free” according to the Sitemorse methodology.

More information

• More information about our surveys and what they test.
• For further Information: Geoff Paddock, Head of Communications on +44 1525 375057,