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Bargain Booze reclaims the top spot as the best performing UK drinks website this month while The Wine Society crashes down the ranked table, according to tests conducted on the online stores of the top drinks sellers in March exclusively for Retail Insider by online specialist Sitemorse.

The value operator moved up four places with a score of 7.56 out of 10 – a significant improvement on last month when its score of 4.68 placed it in fourth spot. It replaces The Whisky Shop that slipped three places.

This reflects a lot of movement at the top of the table this month with Iceland, Spar (UK) and Budgens all claiming new positions in the top five. Budgens moved up seven places to second spot, Spar (UK) up four to third spot and Iceland climbed five places to fifth spot – to add to its move up two places in 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.

The newcomers at the top pushed aside discount rivals Lidl and Aldi – with Lidl down two places and Aldi slipping five positions. However, their performance is overshadowed by The Wine Society that suffered a poor March as it crashed 17 places into 23rd spot with a score of only 2.76 compared with 4.56 last month.

February’s big faller Fortnum & Mason has recovered some ground this time – moving up 10 places to 11th spot – and is joined by Asda among the big climbers this month as it moved up from 22nd spot to 13th place.

In contrast Naked Wines has slipped six places, which is a slight retrenchment following its impressive move up 20 places last month. This comes amid talk that the company is considering floating in order to raise funds to open high street stores. A £100 million valuation has been mooted.

The beer, wines and spirits category online has been particularly buoyant of late with the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index showing sales up 42% in February compared with January. This is especially impressive when the total online market grew by only six per cent – down 12% on January – and compares with growth of a hefty 18th in February 2014.

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

Top UK Drinks Retail Websites – March 2015

Company Name                      +/-       Score out of 10

  • Bargain Booze                  +4                  7.56
  • Budgens                             +7                 6.08
  • Spar (UK)                          +4                 5.77
  • The Whisky Shop             -3                  5.40
  • Iceland                               +5                  4.58
  • Lidl                                      -2                  4.51
  • Aldi                                      -5                  4.42
  • BEERMerchants.com      same            4.32
  • Naked Wines                     -6                  4.24
  • EH Booth & Co                 +1                  4.20
  • Fortnum & Mason           +10                4.12
  • The Drink Shop                same             3.61
  • Asda                                    +9                 3.38
  • Morrisons                         same              3.38
  • Marks & Spencer            -2                    3.20
  • Slurp.co.uk                       same              3.14
  • Oddbins                            new                3.14
  • Majestic Wine                 -1                     3.04
  • Virgin Wines                   same               2.94
  • Tesco                                -5                     2.94
  • Sainsbury’s                     -1                     2.94
  • Selfridges                        -1                     2.94
  • The Wine Society           -17                  2.76
  • Laithwaites                      -1                    2.40
  • Sun Times Wine Club    -1                   2.15
  • Waitrose Cellar               -1                   2.14

 

Sitemorse has been advising its clients about how to improve their web presence for more than a dozen years and its technical team have fine-tuned the Sitemorse software engine so that it is capable of doing far more than just helping find problems. The company offers true digital insight to many large and small organisations in public and private sectors, as well as publishing regular unique INDEX benchmarks