October 01, 2006

Dell and Presentation of Merchandise

A fellow blogger offers commentary about Dell's homepage. Mr. Patel was not pleased with the redesign of the homepage, offering suggestions for improvement.

Recall that in August, I wrote a brief essay about branding verses selling, comparing Gap and Zappos. Mr. Patel's comments seem to lean toward a preference for "selling" on the homepage.

There is constant tension in the creative presentation of merchandise. From time to time, creative folks want to take risks, to present merchandise in a compelling and elegant manner. Customers, from time to time, visit a website with a clear idea what they want to find. When the creative folks make it difficult for the customer to find what she is looking for, sales suffer.

Database Marketers suggest that businesses test creative presentations, in order to identify which strategy works best. However, true tests that identify the best creative direction are seldom executed. There are businesses like Amazon that test many different concepts, allowing Darwinian-style evolution to drive the creative presentation process. Most other businesses make choices "in the best interest of the brand". Amazingly, both strategies have the potential to work.

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