Supermarkets’ websites lowly performers among drinks retail sites

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Major supermarkets continue to under-perform online compared with the websites of other merchants selling beers, wines and spirits, in the table of the UK’s leading drinks retailing websites for October.

The big guns of UK grocery retailing Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda, Morrisons, Waitrose and Marks & Spencer are all placed in the bottom half of the table, according to the rankings of the top UK drinks retailers’ websites produced exclusively for by website testing specialist Sitemorse.

Asda performed the best of the bunch in October with a score of 3.76 out of 10 that pushed it up five places into 12th spot. It was followed by Morrisons Cellar in 14th spot (down 2 places), Waitrose in 16th spot (up 6), Tesco in 17th spot (down 4), M&S in 20th spot (down 2), while Sainsbury’s was again excluded from the table this month due to its reliance on JavaScript.

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.

On the positive side for the supermarkets the two biggest climbers this month were Asda and Waitrose

However, the big grocers still languish some way behind the leaders in this month’s table as Spar (UK) and The Whisky Shop both achieved a score of 7.20 that gives them equal billing at the head of the rankings.

It was followed by Fortnum & Mason and Bargain Booze that held the same positions as last month. The only change in the top 5 was Lidl that moved up three places into fifth spot with a score of 5.49 that reversed its fall of three places in September. It has created some clear space between it and rival Aldi that slipped one place to eighth spot, which represents its third consecutive monthly fall.

At the bottom of the table are some unfortunately familiar names, with Sunday Times Wine Club, Selfridges and Virgin Wines maintaining their lowly positions with none of them managing to achieve a score of more than 2.50.

The question these operators have to ask is how much extra business they could be enjoying if their websites were operating more efficiently because online sales within the retail sector continue to grow rapidly.

In fact, according to the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index, online sales grew 20% year-on-year in August. This represented the steepest monthly rise between August and September in the 13-year history of the index.

For the beers, wines and spirits category the growth was slightly behind the overall retail sector, at 19%, but this still clearly represents an impressive increase. The month-on-month growth came in at a not inconsiderable 12%.

Londis was again excluded from the Sitemorse testing this month, and was joined by Sainsbury’s, because of their reliance on JavaScript.

Top UK Drinks Retail Websites – October 2013

Company Name                      +/-       Score out of 10

Spar (UK)                     same   7.20

The Whisky Shop         same   7.20

Fortnum & Mason       same   6.08

Bargain Booze             same   5.60

Lidl                              +3        5.49

Iceland                       -1         5.30

Budgens                      -1         4.82

Aldi                              -1         4.78

EH Booth & Co            +1        4.48

The Wine Society        -1         4.38   same   4.32

Asda                            +5        3.76

Majestic Wine             +2        4.30

Morrisons Cellar         -2         3.22

Laithwaites                  -1         3.06

Waitrose                     +6        3.00

Tesco                           -4         2.92                  +1        2.88

The Drink Shop            -3         2.53

Marks & Spencer        -2         2.52

Naked Wines               same   2.50

Sun Times Wine Club  +2        2.34

Selfridges                    same   2.14

Virgin Wines               +1        1.62


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