Apple and Costco take other online retailers to school

September 8, 2015 01:39 PM

While parents navigated car pools, school buses and other back-to-school traffic on roadways, retailers managed traffic to their web sites during the busy shopping season ahead of school openings.

When it came to handling back-to-school online shopping traffic during August, Apple Inc.’s and Costco Wholesale Corp.’s websites earned the highest grades on desktop and mobile sites. That’s according to the just-released back-to-school report from performance measurement firm Dynatrace. Dynatrace tested the response time of a handful of major retailers throughout August to see how well websites were performing when it came to load times and enabling shoppers to complete purchases.

Apple, No. 2 in the Internet Retailer 2015 Top 500 Guide, narrowly edged out Costco (No. 11) for the top spot on desktop, with an average response time of 1.192 seconds. Costco’s time was 1.471 seconds.

“These tests not only give us an understanding as to how fast these pages can load and how successful we were loading the pages, they also allow us to understand how consistent and complex the pages are,” writes report author David Jones, director of sales engineering at Dynatrace.

On mobile devices, which were smartphones only in this test, Dynatrace tested how pages loaded across a variety of major mobile networks including Sprint, Verizon, and AT&T. The data shows that Costco’s mobile site loaded nearly a full second faster than its nearest competitor, Walgreen Co. (No. 44), with an average response time of 1.832 seconds compared with 2.798 seconds for Walgreens.

While Apple, Costco and Walgreens dominated the top of Dynatrace’s rankings, two leading retailers found themselves lagging the competition on desktop and mobile.

Sears Holdings Corp. (No. 5) and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (No. 2) ranked second to last and last, respectively, when it came to desktop and mobile response time. Sears’ site loaded on average 4.4 times slower than leader Apple’s on desktop (5.265 seconds versus 1.192 seconds) and more than five times slower than leader Costco’s site on mobile (9.242 seconds versus 1.832 seconds). The disparity was even greater for, which loaded 5.4 times slower on desktop than Apple (6.418 seconds) and 5.5 times slower on mobile (10.149 seconds) than Costco.

Leena Munjal, senior vice president at Sears Holdings, tells Internet Retailer the company is constantly looking at new ways to improve its online offerings.

"We are constantly balancing speed vs. effectively delivering value to our members," she says. "Over the last several months, we've added a number of features that provide more personalization and offers to our members. We measure numerous core metrics and though speed is one of them, it is one of many that we optimize for."




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