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As Naked Wines is acquired by Majestic Wines its website endures a disastrous month with its performance deteriorating dramatically to push it way down the table of the Top UK drinks websites in May, according to analysis undertaken exclusively for Retail Insider by online specialist Sitemorse.

It slipped 19 places to the bottom of the table in 25th spot with a score of only 1.88 compared with 4.30 in April that earned it a creditable place in sixth spot. Its score now stands some way off the top-placed Budgens that this month dislodged Bargain Booze from the top spot.

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.

Although Bargain Booze scored a lesser 5.40 in May compared with the 7.20 it achieved last month it still delivers an enviable performance. One of its strong points is the limited number of broken links on its site. It has only one in almost 2,000 that do not work versus the likes of Laithwaites that has as many as one in 38 links that fail.

One argument some retailers put forward as a reason for their poor performance in the Sitemorse rankings is having a large number of links that they suggest adds complexity to their site. This does not fully stack up as there are many sites that perform very well with numerous links (Bargain Booze has many more links to images than Laithwaites for instance)

Other major movers this month include Sainsbury’s that climbed seven places to 10th spot following its move up four positions last month, and Fortnum & Mason ascended eight places into 11th spot thereby reversing fully the decline it experienced in April.

Going in reverse this month is Oddbins that slipped eight places to 21st spot with a score of 2.32. This pushes it into the bottom five where there has been some movement this month. Sunday Times Wine Club climbed four places to take it off the bottom spot, Laithwaites moved up one place, and Waitrose did the same.

The beer, wines and spirits category online has made a very strong start to the year, with growth of 28.7% in Q1 compared with the same period last year, according to the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index. This represents growth of twice the rate the BWS category delivered in 2012.

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

Top UK Drinks Retail Websites – May 2015

 Company Name                      +/-       Score out of 10

  • Budgens                             +1                6.08
  • Bargain Booze                   -1                5.40
  • The Whisky Shop             same          5. 20
  • Spar (UK)                          same           4.85
  • BEERMerchants.com     same           4.32
  • Aldi                                     +1                4.24
  • Lidl                                     +2                3.77
  • The Drink Shop               +2                3.61
  • EH Booth & Co                 -1                 3.58
  • Sainsbury’s                       +7                3.40
  • Fortnum & Mason           +8               3.40
  • Asda                                    same          3.38
  • Morrisons                          -2                3.38
  • Selfridges                           same          3.20
  • Marks & Spencer             +1                3.20
  • Slurp.co.uk                       +2                3.14
  • Majestic Wine                  -2                 3.04
  • Tesco                                 +4                2.94
  • The Wine Society           +2                 2.76
  • Virgin Wines                   +3                 2.58
  • Oddbins                           -8                  2.32
  • Sun Times Wine Club   +4                 2.15
  • Laithwaites                     +1                  2.14
  • Waitrose Cellar              +1                  2.14
  • Naked Wines                  -19                1.88

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