The V&S Group’s site is a corporate; the overall goal being to educate visitors as to who V&S is, what they do, and to open channels of communication for potential suppliers, employees, shareholders, press, and distributors. Given these goals, the lack of relevant information is leaving money on the table, not allowing the site to live up to its potential.
Studies indicate that climate affects our color preferences more than we’d care to admit*. Color choice is sparse and the design is unnecessarily gray throughout. They even put half of the pictures on their About Us page in black and white. The fact that they’re a company with global reach warrants a website designed with more global appeal. One solution would be to have the site vary for each language selected. Keep the monochrome site for the Scandinavian languages and a more colorful layout for versions in other languages.
The overly gray design also has a negative impact on usability. I would recommend they put more contrast in their top navigation by making the background a different color, or a at least a different shade of gray. The text will stand out clearer on the tabs by making black.
Absolut Vodka is their most well known brand and should be displayed more on the site. Adding pictures which clearly show the Absolute name would allow the site to communicate much more effectively just who this company is.
Adding more resources about Absolut is a necessity for the site. They should create an area for anyone interested only in corporate information on Absolut — or, at the very least, link to Absolut.com. Providing a rich collection of links to info on their world-famous brand will make the site deliver more value to anyone whose interest in V&S is secondary to that of its brands.
Aside from the top navigation, there are only five main links in the active window (read: front, center) of the homepage. More links will make for increased usability and open the way for a more persuasive experience. The site’s main purpose is to share information, and making better use of the active window on the homepage will open up more of the site’s content. Currently, there’s too much digging required on behalf of the visitor.
The homepage would also benefit from removing — or drastically shrinking — the Flash animation, and building more content into the four sections appearing below it.
The site requires the visitor to enter their country and year of birth, which — although necessary on Absolut.com — may be unnecessary for V&S Group. Regardless, a simple field that asks if the visitor is of legal drinking age would be much friendlier than a drop-down menu full of countries and a field in which to type your birth year. They may be asking this to collect information about the sites visitors, but the gain in customer information is likely not worth the loss of momentum created by this step.
The page labeled “Join Us” is a key conversion point. It doesn’t do nearly enough to explain why one should join V&S. There’s a great opportunity to expand on the benefits of working with V&S and provide links to further information. The title of the page should really be “Careers” or “Employment Opportunities”. “Join Us” could be confusing as it may be speaking to wholesalers or suppliers.
Finally, their “Contact Us” page, perhaps anothermain conversion point, should include links on the map they’ve created. It currently shows the map with what appears to be clickable links, then forces us to use a pull-down menu. (Time to hire an AJAX programmer, guys!)
P.S. — I never found out what V&S stands for.
*(See “Color: The Secret Influence” by Kenneth and Cherie Fehrmen)