I recently bought an awesome pair of Puma sneakers online. I love them. They are poppy orange with yellow gum soles, and they have the unique Puma cross-strap in place of laces.
But I came this close to abandoning my shopping excursion at Puma.com and taking my $95 elsewhere. With Puma’s silly “Shop by Mood” option offering me a baffling menu of hundreds of shoes under subheads like “Remember the Good Times,” “Always Be Yourself,” and “Going Up,” the site’s navigation was nearly incomprehensible. A less-motivated buyer would have walked away in, say, new Pony's.
Did I just not get it? Am I not hip enough to intuit Puma’s online navigation? Maybe I don’t represent its target audience, so it simply doesn’t care to cater to those who can’t discern how to find poppy orange sneakers on its site?
I can’t help but wonder why Puma makes it so difficult to shop its online store. Its navigation felt a little 1999 to me—when the Web was so impressed with its inherent coolness that retail sites could get away with that kind of usability strategy. Or lack thereof.
Why make it difficult for your customers (or your audience, business partners, vendors, industry investors or analysts) to interact with your site? You, too, might cater to different “audiences.” Does you own site's architecture and navigation make it responsive to the needs of all of them?
There are a few articles in this week's issue that reminded me of my Puma experience. The first, obviously, is Steve Jackson's piece on improving conversion rates. If I could find the contact information for Puma's marketing department (ahem!) on its site, I'd send them a copy myself.
The second is the next installment in Stephan Spencer's excellent Google series. Can you imagine a simpler or more straightforward interface than Google? Google novices—if there is such a thing any longer—can easily intuit what to do on the home page.
But, still waters run deep at Google. What appears simple is actually quite complex and powerful—but only if you care or need to venture into deeper water.
Thanks for stopping by. As always, your feedback is both welcome and encouraged.
Until next week,