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Budgens kept its position at the head of the table of Top UK drinks websites in September despite a reduced lead ahead of the second-placed retailer, according to analysis undertaken exclusively for Retail Insider by online specialist Sitemorse.

Budgens achieved a score of 5.90 out of 10 compared with 6.08 last month just ahead of The Whisky Shop with its score of 5.46 that betters its 4.68 in August by some margin. It pushes out Bargain Booze into third place with its score of 5.22.

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.

Beer Merchants holds onto its fourth spot as it announces the launch of a new website after five years with its existing online store-front. The site incorporates a host of new features and these will all be taken into account in the testing that Sitemorse undertakes in October.

The big movers this month include Fortnum & Mason that climbs 10 places to eighth spot with a score of 3.66 compared with 3.04 in August – that enables it to recover some of the six places it dropped last month. Morrisons also had a good month with its move up five places to 10th spot.

In contrast, The Drink Shop declined 10 places to 18th spot with a score of 3.17 compared with 3.61 last month.

The Sitemorse results come alongside online sales for the overall market (across all sectors) recording only modest year-on-year growth of 5% in August, according to the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index. This is the weakest performing August to date.

Londis was yet again excluded from the Sitemorse testing this month because of its reliance on JavaScript. It was also joined by Naked Wines.

Top UK Drinks Retail Websites – September 2015

Company Name                      +/-       Score out of 10

  • Budgens                              same                5.90
  • The Whisky Shop           +1                      5.46
  • Bargain Booze                 -1                        5.22
  • BEERMerchants.com same                 4.32
  • Oddbins                             +1                       4.12
  • Aldi                                      -1                        4.04
  • Lidl                                      same                 3.77
  • Fortnum & Mason       +10                    3.66
  • Spar (UK)                        +1                        3.59
  • Morrisons                       +5                       3.38
  • Sainsbury’s                     -2                        3.33
  • Selfridges                        +4                       3.32
  • Majestic Wine               +4                       3.30
  • EH Booth & Co              -3                       3.22
  • Tesco                                  -3                      3.20
  • Marks & Spencer           -3                      3.20
  • Asda                                     -3                      3.20
  • The Drink Shop             -10                     3.17
  • Slurp.co.uk                      +2                      3.14
  • Virgin Wines                   +2                     2.58
  • The Wine Society          -2                      2.58
  • Laithwaites                      +2                     2.40
  • Waitrose Cellar             +2                      2.14
  • Sun Times Wine Club -1                       1.89

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.