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Fortnum & Mason is the best performing online drinks retailer in the UK for the first time following tests conducted on the top 25 UK drinks retailers for March.

The luxury goods retailer hit the top spot, edging out long-standing leader The Whisky Shop, in the ranked table of the top UK drinks retailers’ websites produced exclusively for Retail Insider by website testing specialist Sitemorse.

F&M scored 6.80 out of 10, compared with 6.44 last month when it stood in second place, which highlights how the high-end retailer has translated its exemplary in-store standards onto its website.

In third place is Lidl that continues its climb up the table with a move up two places, which follows its rise of three and five places in January and February respectively. This again shows that a high quality website is not solely the domain of upmarket operators. Supporting this theory is Bargain Booze that is well placed in fourth spot – albeit having slipped one place since February.

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.

This month’s major movers are The Drink Shop that moves up seven places to 12th spot with a score of 3.25, thereby wholly reversing its fall last month. Marks & Spencer also had a decent month, with its rise of three places into 19th spot, although it still manages to score only 2.74 out of 10.

This is still a better performance than perennial bottom-placed Virgin Wines that scores only 1.62 this month, which matches its effort in February. As an online-only player the company is potentially missing out on some of the strong growth seen online, with the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index recording internet-based sales up a healthy 18% year-on-year in February.

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

 

Top UK Drinks Retail Websites – March 2014

 Company Name                      +/-       Score out of 10

Fortnum & Mason       +1        6.80

The Whisky Shop         -1         6.64

Lidl                                    +2        5.67

Bargain Booze             -1         5.60

Spar (UK)                     -1         5.59

Iceland                           same   4.96

Aldi                              +1        4.78

Budgens                      -1         4.64

EH Booth & Co               same   4.38

BeerMerchants.com   same   4.32

The Wine Society        same   4.20

The Drink Shop            +7        3.25

Tesco                           +2        3.20

Asda                            -2         3.12

Waitrose                     -2         3.12

Majestic Wine             -2         3.04

Laithwaites                  +1        2.96

Sainsbury’s                  -2         2.74

Marks & Spencer        +3        2.74

Slurp.co.uk                  same   2.62

Sun Times Wine Club  -4         2.61

Morrisons Cellar         -1         2.60

Selfridges                    same   2.14

Naked Wines               new     1.88

Virgin Wines               -1         1.62

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