While searching for new sneakers, I decided on a pair of Pumas. I love their style and color options, and they always have the newest selections. The same goes for their website. It’s chock full of flash — literally. I normally don’t mind the extra attention to design — in fact I appreciate a beautifully designed website — but Puma.com has made it difficult to find any products.
Landing on the homepage, I was hypnotized by the Flash and interactive design, which must have taken months to program. It showed. (I was on slow connection and had to endure an excruciating load time.) Finally, I was shown one measly, dull-gray shoe. I gave it the benefit of the doubt and clicked on the shoe, expecting to be presented with more colors and styles to choose from. Instead, a new window popped up with no sneaker or link to the online store in sight. They’d sent me to Mongolian Shoe BBQ; a micro-site for a campaign I was unaware of. And although I noticed a trace of copy next to the gray show (after going back to the homepage to figure out what happened), it still felt like the e-tail equivalent of Outer Mongolia.
I started to wonder about Puma’s online business strategy. (Did they even want me to purchase anything? Where the heck are the sneakers or online store? Where am I supposed to go now?) What did they want visitors to get out of their website? As a retail company, the obvious goal of the site would be both branding and e-commerce. In other words, to get visitors excited about their products and brand and, eventually, make a sale. I was ready to purchase, but there were too many usability issues that forced me to browse aimlessly.
A major roadblock for Puma.com com is that it’s top-heavy with (beautiful) design. It’s very image and Flash-oriented and, despite the demand of would-be customers in search of Puma’s sneaker-line, the visitors’ eyes are immediately drawn to the center Flash animation, then to the bottom icons. The small red bag representing the online store is lost amid all the colors and commotion, and the link to the online store in the left navigation is effectively hidden because it’s surrounded by colorful banners. The small, light-gray text — although cool-looking — makes it difficult for visitors to shop.
So, what can Puma.com do to be a more effective e-commerce site? They need to provide a clearer driving point (define) to their online store. A simple A/B test on the homepage will have a big impact. How simple? Well, Google makes it free for all and the only thing you’ll lose is time spent learning a valuable advantage over competitors and opportunity cost of course. To be most effective when making changes to a website, proper A/B testing on Google Website Optimizer is recommended.
Which page do you think would convert better?