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With the top four retailers holding their positions in the table of the Top 25 UK’s leading drinks retailing websites for October, it highlights that merchants are readying themselves for the vital festive period by initiating little (potentially risky) changes to their online stores.

Aldi, Spar(UK), The Whisky Shop and Fortnum & Mason all remain unmoved in  their slots at the top of this month’s rankings, according to the monthly table of UK websites for drinks retailers, produced exclusively for Retailinsider.com by website testing specialist Sitemorse.

To produce the rankings Sitemorse runs automated software that page-by-page reads the first 125 pages of each website and analyses on the basis of six key criteria – function, code quality, user experience, accessibility, performance and SEO capability.

However, the position at the top is closer this month as Aldi scored 7.26 out of 10 compared with 7.98 in September, which takes it closer to second-placed Spar(UK) that again scored 7.08. They are yet again the only two retailers to score over seven out of 10, which Sitemorse regards as the figure all merchants should aim to achieve.

In contrast with last month there were no large movers in October, with only Marks & Spencer moving up more than one place as it climbed from 17th to 15th spot that follows its advance of three places in September.

The Wine Society also continues its move northwards as it climbs one more place into seventh spot after advancing three places last month. Rather surprisingly it is one of only three specialist drinks retailers in the top 10 – alongside The Whisky Shop and Bargain Booze – whereas the bottom three places are all taken up with dedicated drinks merchants.

Laithwaites, Naked Wines and the Sunday Times Wine Club prop up the table again this month with poor scores of 2.30, 1.88 and 1.79 respectively, which highlights that they have some way to go before they match the performances of those players at the top of the table.

It is likely that improvements to their sites would result in them driving more revenue as the online drinks category continues to grow – by 20% between September 2012 and the same month last year (according to the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index). The month-on-month change between August and September this year was an increase in sales of 9%.

Only one retailer was excluded from the Sitemorse testing this month, with Sainsbury’s not included in the Top 25 table because of its reliance on JavaScript. In contrast, Londis re-joined the table this month, and holds a creditable eighth place.

Top 25 Drinks Retail Websites – Oct 2012

Company Name +/- Score out of 10

1. Aldi same 7.26
2. Spar (UK) same 7.08
3. The Whisky Shop same 6.74
4. Fortnum & Mason same 6.24
5. Budgens +1 6.22
6. Bargain Booze +1 6.12
7. The Wine Society +1 5.18
8. Londis new 5.10
9. EH Booth & Co -4 5.00
10. Lidl -1 4.93
11. Iceland -1 4.20
12. BeerMerchants.com -1 3.96
13. Majestic Wine -1 3.84
14. The Drink Shop -1 3.77
15. Marks & Spencer +2 3.66
16. Tesco -2 3.10
17. Selfridges -2 3.10
18. Slurp.co.uk -2 3.04
19. Asda -1 2.90
20. Waitrose same 2.84
21. Virgin Wines -2 2.76
22. Laithwaites -1 2.30
23. Naked Wines -1 1.88
24. Sun Times Wine Club -1 1.79

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