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Black Friday: How do Top Retailers’ Mobile Sites Compare?

Tyrone Stewart

Black Friday can be one of the most stressful (or exciting) days of the year for retailers, as they wait and watch to see if the huge spike in traffic causes their site to fall over.

According to Salmon, 75 per cent of UK traffic between midnight and 9am today came via mobile devices. The global eCommerce consultancy has also predicted this year's Black Friday this will be the year that mobile revenue overtakes desktop sales. As a result, it is important that retailers’ mobile sites are quick and responsive on Black Friday.

We took a look at four of the UK’s top retailers, to see how easy it really is to spend through handheld devices on this ‘special’ day.

Black Friday retail comparison SMALLER

The Black Friday homepages of Amazon, Tesco, Argos and Currys



Amazon UK
Amazon came in quickest and most responsive of the UK sites. It clocked in at 1.5 seconds before arriving on its homepage. On the homepage, there is a banner advertising deals on amazon exclusive products, underneath is another banner (saying “Today is the day” and sponsored by Oral-B) that leads to the full selection of products.

Clicking the latter transports you to the place you want to be – there’s a ‘featured’ tab, an ‘all deals’ tab and an ‘upcoming’ tab. From here you select items, pop them in the trolley and head to the checkout – all as swiftly and easily as when first entering the site.

An all-round pleasant Black Friday experience here, no real qualms.

As a bonus, we also looked across the Atlantic at Amazon's US site. The overall layout of the site is not too dissimilar to the UK version but the speed was something else. Clocking in at 1 second, the site flew into action, making it easily the quickest of the sites observed – though time difference might have been a factor, as only the keenest bargain-hunters would be up and buying when we tested.

Tesco Direct
Coming in a respectable second place, but a whole second slower than Amazon, was Tesco Direct. On arrival, an alarm clock greeted us, just to let us know that Tesco’s Black Friday event had started on Monday at 9am. Clicking the clock put us through to the main Black Friday page, where we had to choose between shopping for just new deals or all deals – a bit like The Matrix. Clicking either brings up a ‘view by category’ section that, if scrolled past, brings up all products available.

At this point, pages loaded slower and, to add insult to injury, it's at least another three clicks until you reach the checkout.

The overall experience was simply not as pleasant as Amazon. The initial speed was great but that soon went missing, and the layout or purchase system is just not as seamless as the king of eCommerce, retaining its crown for another year.

Argos
It took around three seconds for Argos to show us the goods, with all pages consistently loading at this lethargic pace. The homepage banner exclaims “It’s Black Friday”, just in case you'd managed to miss the headlines. As ever, though, the Argos site looks fresh and clean and the layout makes it very easy to navigate through a handheld device.

From arrival, the process of reaching the checkout takes some seven clicks but, because of how Argos operate, with the shopper having to decide between collection and delivery, this is not such a massive surprise. Although the speed of the site leaves much to be desired, the look and ease of use more than makes up for it.

Currys/PC World
By far the worst performing out of the four UK sites in terms of speed. The Currys mobile site takes around three seconds to appear on screen and a further two seconds to fully load. Subsequent pages, though, load up far quicker.

The layout leaves much to be desired too. Visitors are greeted with a load of black boxes with white and yellow writing in them, linking you to various sections of the site. Similar to the Amazon site, though, it does only take four clicks to reach the checkout process.

Overall, we don't have much love for the Currys site. The relatively few clicks required to reach checkout is a positive but the look and speed of the site are simply not up to scratch. Definitely a more stressful than exciting shopping experience.