Website Analysis: Neiman Marcus
How the Neiman Marcus fashion website satisfies the standards of an effective website may be evaluated according to the following criteria:
- Content-layout and design
- Commerce 3. Connection
- Content-Text, Pictures, Sound, Video
Content-Layout and Design: The Neiman Marcus website offers a clear and sharp layout of its content, allowing the prospective consumer to clearly grasp the information presented. The splitting of content into specific categories, such as “apparel for her”, “shoes and handbags” and “jewelry & accessories” permits the viewer of the website to immediately find the specific products of interest. Within these subsections, there is a further specification of available products, thus providing a very exact synopsis of what Neiman Marcus offers to the consumer. Overall, the content-layout and design is user-friendly, insofar as it combines precise product categories with a pleasant layout: This encourages rather than discourages the consumer to explore the website.
Commerce: Prices of various products are clearly listed on the website, alongside notices as to whether these same products are currently in stock. Expected shipping dates are also included, thus giving the consumer all the necessary information to place an online order – there is little ambiguity in the commerce layout.
Furthermore, the “wish list” feature allows the shopper to create a list of desired products, which can help encourage the purchasing of goods. For those that prefer shopping in physical locations as opposed to online, the website clearly lists locations of various Neiman Marcus stores.
Connection: The website does not explicitly display any connection links. This can be interpreted as in accordance with the capitalist imperative of ignoring the competition. Hence, the website attempts to operate as entirely self-sufficient, providing all needs for a prospective consumer. However, Neiman Marcus does offer Facebook and Twitter links, suggesting that it is aware of the ubiquity of modern technology and telecommunications and the importance of networking in the contemporary sense of so-called “Web 2.0”.
Communication: On the main page, there is no explicit e-mail address for the company, nor is there a clearly marked “contact us” link, as is found on many other websites. Nonetheless, under “assistance” there are email and online chat links, as well as an FAQ and detailed information on issues of pertinence, such as security and privacy. A twenty-four hour phone number is also displayed on the webpage. By including this information under “assistance”, however, the company seems to imply that they are only open to communication in problem situations, as opposed to remaining generally open to dialogue with customers.
Community: The commitment to community is present in the links to Facebook and Twitter accounts, thus allowing for user to user communication. The online chat feature also allows direct contact with company representatives. Overall, Neiman Marcus seems to have made the decision to build its community using already existing social networking tools, such as the aforementioned Facebook and Twitter.
Context-Text, Sound, Pictures, Video: The content, sound and pictures on the website are quite attractive, fitting with the site’s essence as a fashion website. The quality of images and texts suggests that Neiman Marcus employs professional fashion photographers and writers to sell their products. Whereas aesthetics is, of course, a subjective theme, the Neiman Marcus website is nevertheless pleasing to the eye, and contains relevant information. Video is kept to a minimum; however, this can be considered a plus, insofar as not everyone has access to the latest computer technology – this helps prevent long website loading times.