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Retail Madness Results: Tech Region Upsets

This post is part of our series on our “Retail Madness” tournament, a March Madness-style tournament pitting top online retailers in competition for providing great user experiences, as measured by Yottaa’s CXi calculation. (Read our first post for more on the CXi and our methodology).

Today we’re presenting the “Tech” region.

As you might guess, this includes electronics retailers, big tech and software brands, and some online services.  But if you guessed that the tech designation means it’s the best-performing region, you’d be wrong. The tech sites do have the highest floor — the loser has the best score of all the regional losers (Sony) — but the average score of the region comes in second of the 4, and only escaped third by a fraction.

Our winner is Newegg, by a close margin over the runner-up, Dell. Newegg’s score of 73.72 is enough to make the final four, and also place 4th overall. So what sets Newegg apart from others, including deep-pocketed foes like hardware giant Apple, and web services king Google?

Rich UX Carries the Day

One is consistency across devices — it features a strong experience on both desktop and mobile platforms. More importantly, it features a combination of a solid performance with a very rich user experience, including dozens and dozens of JavaScripts, especially on its product pages for desktop users. (We tested home pages, category pages, and product details pages for all entrants).

In fact, it’s the product details page that elevates NewEgg from a strong contender to the winner, and despite its glut of elements it loses no ground on performance. The number of JavaScripts and the overall weight of the product page is roughly a third greater than the category page, but it actually posts faster performance overall.

Notably that huge JavaScript load is cut down by 93% for mobile users, ensuring the user experience is not too crowded or sluggish on mobile devices. That’s in line with best practices that indicate mobile users are less receptive to added features and convert better with a streamlined experience — the reverse of what’s true for desktop users.

For comparison, Apple’s desktop site has blazing fast performance — it’s faster than Newegg — but the minimalist aesthetic of Apple’s hardware design apparently carries over to web apps, as it has barely anything on its pages. It posts among the lowest figures for external domains, JavaScripts, and images per page. That makes the fast load times more easily won. (On mobile, Apple gravitates closer the mean on both performance and complexity)

Across all 3 pages tested and mobile and desktop, Newegg simply provides a fast, rich user experience.

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Next up are the Big Box region and the Kitchen Sink region, followed by a special Final Four!

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