Department stores such as Macy’s, Nordstrom and Saks are showing signs of recovery after the economic slump. ‘Nordstrom is expected to post earnings of 79 cents per share for the quarter, more than doubling the 31 cents it posted in the year-ago period’ (Cardona 2010). Nordstrom, Saks and Barneys are direct competitors as they cater to high-end clients whereas macy’s is more in the middle-priced-ranged market like JC Penny. Nordstrom had the advantage of its robust online selling and a chain of Nordstrom Rack outlets to enjoy increasing sales even during recession. Saks was hardly hit when the luxury market fell and was not able to rebound as quickly as Nordstrom. Although Macy’s is slowly getting back to its knees, it’s still tough for middle-priced-ranged department stores because shoppers prefer either high-end products or those at value-oriented stores. Market segmentation involves the segregation of consumers into subsets of clients with the same needs. Example of market segmentation in the department stores is having sections for kids, women’s, juniors, ethnic, plus sizes, to name a few. All the 3 department stores cover this kind of market segmentation. ‘When in recession, people opt to buy either high-end brands or super discounted products’ (WiseGeek). And that’s where Nordstrom and Saks capitalize to rejuvenate sales. Recovery measures such as lowering prices, inventory adjustment and online selling were implemented to initiate rebound. The kind of website design techniques that Nordstrom and Saks use is both classy and informative. Macy’s utilizes the search online option for easy access to their products lines. Macy’s uses its American Express card, Macy’s credit, debit and gift cards, check and cash. While both Nordstrom and Saks accept Discover, American Express, Visa and Mastercard. Macy’s.com offers free shipping standard while Nordstrom has shipping charges ranging from $8 to $35 depending on how it is delivered.
Saks offers free shipment for orders more than $150.
The widespread of globalization has made the use of the internet inevitable because it provides easy access to websites thus opening doors for global opportunities. ‘There are five criteria to a good website design and that include navigation, design, content, other marketing considerations and legal stuff/re-assurance/legitimization’ (Cumbrowski 2008). To prove the thesis, three department store websites are critically analyzed before concluding.
A good website design must have navigation. Navigation is the link that gives concise guide as to where the text will lead. It should have depth or the utmost number of clicks needed to land to the page. The clickable items must be obvious that they are clickable and should have a quick response of 0.1 seconds after a click has been made. The colors used in the design must be color coordinated to make it aesthetically appealing to the visitors. The choice of colors should be high enough in contrast for better viewing of both the normal-vision and the colorblind. The fonts should be easy to read and the standard text size must be readable even to those who do not know how to adjust the browsers.
As to the website content, it should be concise but helpful. The copywriting must adhere to the purpose of the site and must communicate properly to the target market. And don’t forget to include an “about page” detailing the identification of the author of the content. Links must be available to provide more detailed information of subjects or definition of jargon terms. And it is very important that the contents are always updated to encourage more visitors to the site.
To prove the thesis, three department store websites are analyzed. Firstly, the Nordstrom.com which can be retrieved through shop.nordstrom.com. The website has complete navigation with links to main page, about us, terms and conditions, contact, FAQ, shipping cost and payment method. Also, the content of the website displays their entire product lines including prices and promotions available. The items on sale are categorized per brand so the buyer has an easy access to whatever brand they like to see. The web site offers personal stylist to assists customers regarding identifying the customer’s unique style, suggests perfect gifts for loved ones and other shopping advices that the customer may need. It contains the 5 criteria to a good website and very helpful for someone looking for best-buys. The site is very informative and customer-friendly.
Macy’s.com, on the other hand, is another department store website offering different varieties of clothing, shoes, bags, jewelries, accessories and other useful things. It has easy navigation link, very informative and uses bright colors in its main page. But the succeeding pages are quite dull in color and appeared to be simple catalogues of shoes, bags and clothing. It contains the 5 criteria to a good website and also very helpful for someone looking for best-buys because the discounts are displayed together with the item on sale. The site is available online through www.macys.com. All information on investor relations, careers, stores contact, news releases and employment application are available on the web site. It also promotes membership through sign-up membership.
And last but not least, Saks.com, another department store website which can be accessed through sacks.com. This site has valuable links to order status, contact, gift card, credit card, customer service, private policy and its various clothing, shoes, bags and accessories. The design of the website is good and colorful but lacks in content. Not much content can be found in the website. One thing good though is the classification of their shoes which was done according to style.
Consequently, Nordstrom.com ranked first in relation to the 5 criteria of a good website design. It is more complete, has nice and informative presentation, contains valuable links to related topics and marketing considerations, with legal stuff and most importantly, it has good, unique content describing the website.
Cardona, Mercedes. “Investors hope sales, macy’s and Nordstrom are back in vogue.” 2010.
Cumbrowski, Carsten. “50 questions to evaluate the quality of your website.” Web. 21 Jun 2011.
WiseGeek. “What is market segmentation.” Web. 21 Jun 2011.www.wisegeek.com.
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