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Which mobile sites performed best during Valentine’s Day?

February 22, 2011

OpenTable mobile site performed well on Valentine's Day

The mobile sites of OpenTable and Ghirardelli came out on top in terms of performance this Valentine’s Day, according to research from Keynote Systems Inc.

Last-minute planners were in luck during the hours that led up to Valentine’s Day, as research shows mobile Web sites performed extremely well during the week prior to Feb. 14. Keynote’s Romance Performance Index measured Web sites’ speed and reliability and revealed that most withstood heavy traffic without substantial wait-times or service interruptions.

“After years of shouting from a soap box about the importance of mobile performance, we’re now seeing the message soak in,” said Tim Murphy, mobile marketing manager at Keynote Systems, San Mateo, CA.

“We’re now looking at something as specific as Valentine’s Day-oriented mobile retail Web sites – the list is significant and the performance is real,” he said.

Keynote specializes in Internet and mobile cloud monitoring. It delivers testing, monitoring and measurement services for companies to help improve their customers’ overall Web experience.

The findings of its study are representative of retailers’ recognition of consumers’ changing attitudes toward online shopping and an increasing need for mobile access.

How it worked
The Web sites Keynote tested all dealt in usual Valentine’s Day purchases, such as gifts, greeting cards, chocolates, flowers, wine, online dating or restaurant reservations.

The index’s standout Web sites in the mobile realm were OpenTable, an online reservation network through which users can lay claim to a table at any of the 200,000 restaurants in its database, as well as chocolate-supplier Ghirardelli.

Keynote tested the mobile Web sites’ load time and reliability to determine performance. OpenTable was the fastest site, with an average speed of 2.62 seconds to download the homepage to a wireless device, closely followed by, with a load time of 2.64 seconds.

The average load time was 7.94 seconds.

Keynote credits the light-weight designs of both OpenTable and as the reason why their mobile sites loaded so quickly, but noted that Ghirardelli and FTD also turned in speeds that were impressive given their larger page sizes, both over 100KB.

“If you want to be fast, keep the number of objects on mobile Web sites at a minimum,” Mr. Murphy said. “When in doubt, leave it out.”

The most reliable mobile site was Ghirardelli, with a 98.65 percent rate, followed by, FTD, OpenTable and KL Wines. 

Tim Murphy is mobile marketing manager at Keynote

Why it matters
“If Valentine’s Day is an important shopping season for a retailer whose Web site didn’t perform well, it’s not likely that the mobile delivered on its potential,” Mr. Murphy said.

“Moreover, if the experience really disappointed, they may not be coming back,” he said.

Mr. Murphy also said that studies prove users prefer using mobile browsers over apps in retail, meaning it is important for retailers to utilize mobile-optimized sites, and ensure they are fast and reliable.

Companies need to be aware of competitors’ mobile sites, keep the user in mind when designing, eliminate content errors and test the mobile Web sites using tools.

“Top mobile sites are beginning to approach their desktop cousins in terms of performance,” Mr. Murphy said. “While the gap may never go away, mobile retailers that follow mobile best practices are leading the pack.”

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