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Sainsbury’s stormed up the table of the Top UK drinks websites in November, according to analysis undertaken exclusively for Retail Insider by online specialist Sitemorse, taking it to eighth spot.

The supermarket climbed 11 places with a score of 4.23 out of 10, compared with 2.95 last month. This strong performance contrasts with that of rival Asda that dropped eight places to 24th spot, just one position above Waitrose Cellar that has only the Sunday Time Wine Club below it in the table.

It highlights a mixed month for the dedicated online wine clubs as sister firm Virgin Wines is also languishing in 23rd spot while new entry British Airways Wine Club hits the table in a very creditable third place with a score of 5.48.

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.

However, Virgin has high hopes for the festive period as it is predicting it will sell as many as two million bottles in December – this is an increase of some 40,000 cases compared with last year.  The specialists like Virgin will be hoping to benefit from the decision by the supermarkets to reduce the number of their drinks lines.

Tesco has confirmed it is cutting its wine range from 950 to 650 bottles and has also indicated it is to end half-price wine deals in its stores. Its website delivered a marginal improvement – moving up one place to a middling 13th spot.

It is some way off this month’s high flyers, with Budgens retaining its top spot with a score of 6.00 compared with 5.54 last time, thereby holding off Bargain Booze that moved up two places and newcomer British Airways Wine Club in third spot.

The Sitemorse results come alongside online sales for the overall market (across all sectors) recording year-on-year growth of 8.9% in October, according to the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index. Rather disappointingly this is the lowest annual growth for October since the index began 15 years ago.

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

Top UK Drinks Retail Websites – November 2015 

Company Name                                  +/-       Score out of 10

  • Budgens                                       same     6.00
  • Bargain Booze                           +2          5.58
  • British Airways Wine Club New       5.48
  • The Whisky Shop                      -2          5.38
  • Spar (UK)                                      -2         5.31
  • Aldi                                                  same   5.30
  • Majestic Wine                            +5         5.28
  • Sainsbury’s                                  +11        5.23
  • Oddbins                                        same    5.12
  • Lidl                                                  -2          4.61
  • Morrisons                                    same    4.38
  • EH Booth & Co                           +1          4.22
  • Tesco                                              +1          4.20
  • Marks & Spencer                       +1          4.20
  • Slurp.co.uk                                   +2         3.14
  • Fortnum & Mason                     -9          2.94
  • The Drink Shop                           -7          2.89
  • Selfridges                                       same    2.80
  • BEERmerchants.com              -14         2.76
  • Naked Wines                               same     2.70
  • The Wine Society                      +1           2.58
  • Laithwaites                                   +1           2.40
  • Virgin Wines                                -2           2.32
  • Asda                                                 -8           2.14
  • Waitrose Cellar                           same     2.14
  • Sun Times Wine Club              -2            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