Homewares perform strongly in latest Sitemorse UK retail web survey

Big ticket retailers selling homewares delivered a strong performance in the Sitemorse table of the best performing UK retail websites in Q4 - commanding five of the top 20 places.

Online PR News – 23-November-2012 – London UK – Sofa Workshop was joined in the upper echelons by Beds Direct in 12th spot with a score of 7.20, KD Beds in 11th spot with 7.29, Pownall Carpets in fourth spot with 8.38, and the mighty DFS yet again holding the top position with 9.50 out of 10.

Having 25% of the top 20 positions is an impressive achievement especially when considering that even the lowest score achieved by this bunch was a creditable 6.70 out of 10 – from Sofa Workshop, holding on to the 17th spot it attained in Q3.

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. We don’t judge a site on the way it looks, or content, but purely on how well its users will find it works.

Yorkshire-based sofa retailer DFS has again held off jewellery retailer Anoushka London, which maintains its second place with an identical score to that in Q3 of 9.37. It’s followed by Joseph and Pownall Carpets in joint-third place - who with 8.38 are almost a full point behind the top two, which highlights how strong their continued performances are at the head of the table.

Credit must also be given to the biggest climbers in Q4, with Thorntons moving up 343 places into 33rd spot with a score of 6.18, thanks to an all-new website which replaced the previous one after Easter. It was joined in the top 50 by Cash Converters that also moved up significantly – by 230 places to 50th spot with 5.58. Other big movers included Topps Tiles, up 262 places due to improvements to HTML and navigation on their site, Motor World, up 238, and major online player Next, which climbed 237 places.

In contrast, there were some hefty fallers this quarter, with Naked Wines the heaviest casualty as it collapsed 355 places into 457th spot with a weak 1.52 out of 10. This is a very different performance to the highest placed drinks retailers, The Whisky Shop, which moved up two places to reach 16th spot, and Bargain Booze which climbed five places into 40th place.

Other disappointing fallers included Play.com, declining 234 places and M&M Direct, down 264 places, which is worrying as both businesses are online- so rely entirely on their websites for their revenues. The same can be said for Lastminute.com which this quarter slipped 11 places to land in the bottom 10 with a score of only 1.52.

Both Lastminute.com and Naked Wines are newcomers to the bottom 10 in the table and they were joined by two others – Grattan, which dropped nine places to 451st spot, and M&Co. that fell 52 places to 450th spot. None of the bottom 10 managed to score more than 1.78, which puts them a quantum leap away from long-time high-flyer DFS.

The final ranked table for Q3 includes only 459 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.

Lawrence Shaw, chief executive of Sitemorse, commented: “Both DFS and Anoushka London have maintained great consistency in the top 500 table for many months, which clearly highlights how hard they work at ensuring their websites are operating at their optimum performance. Their practices and continued commitment to their online stores will undoubtedly position them well to benefit from the forthcoming vitally important festive period.”

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 took place on October 5, 2012 and involved benchmarking more than two million separate URLs. Poorest code quality was recorded for the Game site, with more than 640,000 failures. Fastest overall response time from any site tested was convenience store Londis. Only seven sites in the survey were classed as “error-free” according to Sitemorse criteria.

More information

• 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 1525 375057, gpaddock@Sitemorse.com