Whether you’re hitting the gym or the trails, you’re likely to be lacing up with some active footwear that helps you burn calories and exercise in comfort and style. When it comes to activewear, there are many companies these days who contribute their accessories and gear to our daily workout regiments, however, two major players come to the front of our minds when it comes to popular footwear brands.
For our latest AlertBot Showdown, we picked frontrunners Nike and Reebok to evaluate the website performance for each athletic wear’s online persona.
We used AlertBot’s external website monitoring system and its TrueBrowser™ technology to monitor both sites for a couple weeks, spanning from October 1, 2017 to October 22, 2017. While both sporty sites performed well, it became pretty clear after a significant trip-up that one site left the other in the dust.
For the reliability evaluation of a website, we look for failure events (like when a page doesn’t fully load or it is completely down), and we look for what caused those failures.
For the first time in our experience of tracking sites for a Showdown, one of the sites in the running went down while we were actually in the office. That gave us the ability to watch the event as it unfolded while AlertBot performed its tests against the failing site. Reebok.com hit a snag on October 13 around 3:30pm EST. It took nearly a full hour for their site to recover. We manually checked their site from our desks at 4pm, and the site was still down. We checked again at 4:15 and the site was back up, however, only text was loading – no images. By 4:30pm, when we checked one more time, the Reebok.com was back up in its entirety. It was the only failure event that Reebok.com encountered during the weeks it was tested for this Showdown, but it was definitely a doozy. During this time period, their average downtime was just 99.85%, but it’s proof that “99% uptime” can still contain an hour of critical downtime. And for a retail site, this could truly prove costly. (Reebok 7/10)
On the other hand, Nike.com experienced no significant failure events and only occasionally experienced minor issues like a slow page file or a “timed out” error. From the starting line, Nike is already on the fast track to success between the two brands. (Nike 9.5/10)
When evaluating a website’s speed, we look at the time it takes the site’s homepage to render and load to the point of being fully interactive by the user. These tests are performed from the perspective of a first-time visitor with no prior cache of the website’s content. AlertBot runs the tests inside real Firefox web browsers using AlertBot’s TrueBrowser ™ monitoring.
Speed is everything for the image of brands like these, which makes it a bit ironic that both sites seem to struggle a little in this area. Reebok’s fastest average speed was on October 4th with 6.4 seconds load time. Their worst average speed was October 23 at 7.9 seconds. They’re not drastically different, but that’s not an impressive load time. (Reebok 7/10)
At this point, one might expect Nike to sprint past Reebok in the load time category, but Nike didn’t fair much better, with 6.3 seconds being their fastest average speed on October 23 (which is coincidentally the day of Reebok’s slowest average), and Nike’s slowest average speed was 7.5 seconds. Again, they’re not great speeds, but in this case, Nike edges out Reebok, even if it is only by a slight skip rather than a jump. (Nike 7/10)
It’s always interesting to see how sites perform differently across the world. If we look exclusively at the United States, it’s intriguing to see which states regularly see faster or slower times than others.
Looking at site response time geographically tells a different story. First off, Reebok shows that they had the fastest load time in Texas with an average of 3.7 seconds. Their second fastest time was in New Jersey at 4.8 seconds. Virginia produced the slowest return, with an average of 6.9 seconds. (Reebok 7.5/10)
Yet again, Nike only performed slightly better, with California showing the fastest average speed of 3.2 seconds and Texas showing the second fastest at 4.5 seconds. However, Nike performed worse than Reebok when it came to slowest location, with Illinois taking the cake for worst average speed, at 9.7 seconds! (Nike 7/10)
For usability, we select a common task a user might typically try to accomplish when visiting the sites and replicate it. For our previous Showdowns, we tested things like visiting a site for nutritional information or going through the motions of ordering movie tickets from a local theater, or simply adding a similar item to both sites’ shopping carts. For this Showdown, we’ll see what the experience is like to use their respective websites to add their latest running shoe to the shopping cart and start the checkout process.
For each of these processes, we started by opening a new tab in Google Chrome and typing in the site’s URL.
From the point of typing www.reebok.com into our Chrome browser and clicking around to find a Men’s Running Shoe, choosing the first one, choosing a size, adding it to the cart and clicking “checkout,” it took 36 seconds. From the homepage, it took 5 clicks to get to the checkout process. At first glance at the homepage of the site, it seemed like it might be a challenge to actually find what we’re looking for, but it was a pretty easy shopping experience.
From the point of typing www.nike.com into our Chrome browser, it took 8 mouse clicks and 48 seconds to find a men’s running shoe and get to the checkout stage. Upon first visiting the site, the visitor is hit with an ultra closeup of a bunch of kids in gray Nike hoodies and it takes most of the page hostage. We scrolled down to the first running shoe advertised and clicked on it, only to find that it was only a women’s shoe (which is not mentioned on the image on the homepage). We then had to click around to the men’s department, for this task’s purpose, in order to find a shoe and continue the process. Both sites get the job done, but Reebok was a more pleasant shopping experience.
With that said, here are the Usability scores:
(Reebok 9/10) (Nike 8/10)
Both sites performed respectably, but we can’t ignore that failure that Reebok experienced on the 13th. Other than that, the sites performed quite similarly (and we actually preferred Reebok’s shopping experience a little more than Nike’s). Still, since we’re really weighing in here on web performance, the winner is rather clear —