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Staples steadily improves its website load time

February 6, 2017 02:35 PM
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Staples Inc.’s desktop site is loading at a fast clip. 

The office supply retailer, No. 5 in the Internet Retailer 2016 Top 500 Guide, has steadily improved its performance in Internet Retailer’s desktop performance index each month since October, landing in the No. 2 spot for January.

The January desktop performance index ranks the 10 fastest retail sites out of the top 100 retailers in the Internet Retailer 2016 Top 500 Guide for the two-week period Jan. 2-15, according to digital performance analytics company Catchpoint Systems Inc.

Staples’ retail site loaded in 1.34 seconds, second only to Apple Inc.’s, which loaded in 1.32 seconds on average during the two week period. Both sites are much faster than the index average in January, which was 3.61 seconds. Staples is No. 5 in the Internet Retailer 2016 Top 500 Guide; Apple is No. 2.

Staples has trimmed its home page load time month over month, which Catchpoint Systems attributes to several factors, including reducing the number of hosts, or the number of domains that deliver data, content or services over the internet to the site, says Catchpoint Systems CEO Mehdi Daoudi.

Staples also restructured the order in which content loaded on the home page to optimize performance, Daoudi says.

“With the exception of a few critical scripts, the rest are being loaded after the primary webpage load is complete,” he says. “This ensures these resources minimally impact the user's perception that the page has loaded and is ready for interaction.”

Staples first joined the top 10 rankings in October, in the No. 10 spot with a web page load time of 1.86 seconds. In November, Staples jumped to No. 5, loading in 1.51 seconds, and the retailer rose to No. 3 in December, loading in 1.35 seconds. Staples did not respond to a request for comment.

 

For the two weeks of Jan. 2-15, Top 10 retailers’ average page weight was 2.35 megabytes compared with 2.53 megabytes in December, and the average number of hosts was 51, the same as the previous month. The average number of items was 170, compared with 173 in December. The top 100 sites were, on average, 99.89% available for the first two weeks of January compared with 99.87% available for the first two weeks in December.

Internet Retailer and Catchpoint Systems produce two monthly site performance indexes, one for mobile sites and one for desktop sites.

Catchpoint Systems monitors each website’s home page with measurements taken from Catchpoint Systems’ in-country or in-region monitoring nodes, at intervals of five minutes for two weeks each month. Backbone monitoring nodes are the locations of Catchpoint’s devices that are near data centers operated by the main Internet Service Providers that provide service to a city. The nodes simulate end-user contact with each website. Catchpoint monitors webpage load time, availability, hosts and items.

They are defined as follows:

Webpage load time: The time it takes for enough page elements to load for a consumer to begin interacting with a page, such as searching, tapping or scrolling. From a consumer point of view, the time it takes for the progress bar or spinning wheel to stop.

Availability: The percentage of time during the two week test week that the site can be successfully reached by a consumer.

Host: Any domain that delivers data, content or services over the internet to the site.

Items or Requests: Webpage components, such as files or images that a page loads from internal and external hosts or domains. These can include PDFs, PNGs, JPEGs and GIFs.

 

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