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The websites of the top 25 UK drinks retailers experienced a collective decline in performance in January compared with the Christmas peak, which is a serious concern as 2014 is predicted to be a great year for selling alcohol online.

The average score (out of 10) achieved by the top five in the ranked table for January was 5.58 whereas in December this was 5.85. Such a decline was represented throughout the top 25, according to the rankings of the top UK drinks retailers’ websites produced exclusively for Retailinsider.com by website testing specialist Sitemorse.

The only retailer to score more highly this month was Bargain Booze that just managed to squeak above its December figure with a score of 5.70 versus 5.60.  The remaining 24 websites all delivered a declining performance.

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.

At the top of the table The Whisky Shop scored 6.64 versus 6.85 last month, while Fortnum & Mason in second place achieved 5.83 compared with a much higher 6.80 in December. That it could retain its position while scoring a whole point less than last month highlights how weak January has been for the online drinks retailers.

This is worrying as it could affect their ability to benefit from the predicted buoyancy in the sector during 2014. There is an increasing focus on the category by the big players who recognise the strong growth in sales at the end of 2013 could run on into this year. Online sales of beer, wine and spirits grew 16% in November and December, according to the IMRG Capgemini e-retail Index.

For the first time since the creation of the table has Sainsbury’s been featured. It enters the rankings in 22nd place with a disappointing score of 1.50, which places only three retailers below it.

However, Londis was again excluded from the Sitemorse testing this month because of its reliance on JavaScript.

Top UK Drinks Retail Websites – January 2014

 

Company Name                      +/-       Score out of 10

 

The Whisky Shop         same   6.64

Fortnum & Mason       same   5.82

Bargain Booze             same   5.70

Spar (UK)                     +1        4.97

Aldi                              -1         4.78

Iceland                        +1        4.60

Budgens                      -1         4.56

Lidl                              +5        4.17

EH Booth & Co            same   3.86

BeerMerchants.com   -2         3.54

The Wine Society        -1         3.12

The Drink Shop            -1         3.09

Waitrose                     +3        2.60

Majestic Wine             +3        2.46

Laithwaites                  same   2.44

Sun Times Wine Club  +3        2.19

Asda                            -5         2.16

Slurp.co.uk                  -1         2.10

Tesco                           -5         1.94

Marks & Spencer        +2        1.90

Morrisons Cellar         same   1.72

Sainsbury’s                  new     1.50

Selfridges                    -3         1.36

Naked Wines               -1         1.36

Virgin Wines               -1         1.10

 

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