GuitarGuitar is the highest-performing eCommerce website in the UK right now, according to data from the Web Vitals Index, ahead of ladies footwear brand Gabor (2) and Weldricks pharmacy (3) – with global giants including Microsoft, Amazon and Apple finding themselves in 4th, 21st and 24th places respectively.
The league of sites is powered by website testing specialist RapidSpike – a fast-growing Leeds-headquartered firm that counts Tesco, Sofology, Kurt Geiger and William Hill among its customer base.
The list triangulates a range of metrics including Google’s Core Web Vitals three-pronged user experience benchmark, as well as website performance over time, accessibility, page structure and reliability.
Once scored, the brands are able to benchmark themselves against competitors and take proactive steps to improve – not just for bragging rights, but to convert more customers and deliver ecommerce revenue gains.
Gav Winter, CEO of both the Web Vitals Index and RapidSpike, said: “From being a functional tester to a performance engineer, and then owning my own business and websites, I know how critically important it is to get the basics right. I have also seen the scale of the catastrophe – not least from a reliability perspective – when things go wrong.
“It worries me that performance engineering and website monitoring are often considered reactive tick-box exercises, rather than the proactive source of empowering, business-changing information that it should be – especially in the era of the ever-more discerning customer.
With the direct correlation between website speed and conversion now widely acknowledged – with every second saved over three seconds said to boost conversions by 7% – even marginal gains of 0.1% could represent millions of extra revenue for the UK’s largest brands.
However, performant websites can also reap significant sustainability savings – in addition to financial benefits.
“If an eCommerce team mistakenly uploads an image that is 1MB too big, that might not seem bad at all,” Winter explained. “However, downloaded 1 million times, that’s 1 million megabytes of server, network and user device time, plus electricity and transport time, which not only costs you and your customers money, but costs our planet too.”
Household brands including Thomas Sabo, Wish.com, and Co-Operative all currently feature in the top ten – above Apple in 11th position – but rankings will change weekly based on performance.
“Traditionally, we’ve seen eCommerce brands ranked in terms of trust levels or customer satisfaction scores,” elaborated Winter. “But online purchasing is soaring – not least as a result of the pandemic. Stock market analyst Nasdaq previously predicted, for example, that 95% of all purchases will be online by 2040, but I think this forecast has accelerated by at least a decade as a result of the last 18 months. It’s therefore time to join the dots, and acknowledge the part that website performance plays too.
“True website performance cannot be a one-off measure of course – it is way too complex, with many moving parts, and things go much deeper than a top level score. However, the Index is a strong indicator of the digital impact a brand is really having,”
Initially focusing on the UK retail sector, ongoing iterations of the Index will widen the reach to include global eCommerce brands. The medium-term goal is to incorporate eCommerce technology talks covering topics ranging from performance and security to SEO and marketing, and longer-term, businesses at the top of their game for both website performance and sustainability, will be rewarded for their efforts in an independent accreditation scheme.