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Sitemorse research shows garden related websites are performing well, but DIY chains are slipping

With Chelsea Flower Show running this month it is clearly a high profile period for gardens and so it is rather timely that three garden-related retailers occupy positions in the top 25 of the table of the best performing UK retail websites in Q2.

The findings are revealed in the latest results from the quarterly testing of the Sitemorse Retail 500 of top UK online stores.

The move up 59 places to 20th spot by garden furniture specialist Jo Alexander means it positions it with Bridgemere Nursery & Garden World in 17th place and Wyevale Garden Centres in 25th spot, among the best performing retail websites in the country in Q2.

Other hardware and DIY retailers fared less well, with Wilkinson Plus reaching 467; Homebase 449, B&Q 440, Robert Dyas 364, Argos 363 and Wickes, 362.

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.

Lawrence Shaw, chief executive of Sitemorse, says: “At a time when the profile of gardening is at its highest among consumers in the UK it is pleasing to see that the top 25 places in the table includes three operators from the gardening category. This is certainly an area that is proving increasingly popular and it is good to see merchants in this area delivering a strong level of web performance to their green-fingered customers.”

Each of the three garden retailers achieved creditable scores of more than 6.50 out of 10 but they still have some way to go if they are to match the best performer of Q2, jewellery retailer Anoushka London. It scored an impressive 9.37 out of 10 to dislodge DFS from its number one perch as the sofa retailer scored 9.14 compared with its table-topping 9.70 in Q1.

The bottom end of the table includes a batch of heavy fallers including: Elvi (down 168 places to 429th spot); Virgin Wines (down 248 to 433); Reid Furniture (down 175 to 434); Sunday Times Wine Club (down 300 to 454); Tesco Direct (down 386 to 455); and Tissot (down 186 to 463).

The final ranked table includes only 471 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.

Sitemorse is now the suite of choice for organisations wishing to ensure their sites provide total, holistic web governance and a great user experience. Hundreds of clients across major corporates, local and national government, utilities, financials and the health sector rely on Sitemorse to help them improve the performance, compliance and quality of their websites, delivering control and web confidence.

Source : Glynn Davis – The Retail Bulletin

24 May 2012
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