E-commerce Websites

By: Jing Ni Soh

The Internet has developed rapidly these decades and has amplified its importance throughout the business world immensely. There are many kinds of websites available on the World Wide Web. They serve many purposes and each website will generally have a specific focus. Some websites are made for self-promotion, product-promotion, entertainment provider and many other purposes. In this genre analysis, focus will be given to commercial websites that results in sales generation for a retail company. These are called sometimes called Electronic Commerce websites or abbreviated as e-commerce.

E-commerce sites are available on the World Wide Web and thus, any person around the world is able to access the website given the technology in that geographical location. A website owns a website address that starts with ‘www’ or World Wide Web. Once an Internet user enters the address on the Internet browser, the index page or front page will welcome the interested reader. Websites are consisted of pages and pages of graphic representations as well as text. Specifically, E-commerce websites have an important, concentrated purpose, which is to transform an interested browser to a contented buyer.
For this analysis, we will focus on five well-known specialty store retailers in the United States. The companies chosen are listed below:

  1. Best Buy
  2. Staples
  3. Gap
  4. Toysrus
  5. Office Depot

These well-known retailers started as brick-and-mortar companies and have developed their online marketing strategies to stay updated with technology. These top retailer websites are formatted to a specific layout using specific color schemes and standard font types.

For all five websites chosen, consistency is an important word. Font type, color and size are applied with high consistency throughout the entire website to provide the best navigational reading to the potential customers. Only important headlines are given priority to be bold-typed or use bigger font sizes. The typical colors seen throughout all five websites are blue, black and white. These are the most conservative colors that do not distract the browsers from the texts themselves. Florescent colors are avoided because they are not easy to read as well as do not promote professionalism on the website.

The language on each website promotes friendliness and uses the direct approach. The language used approaches the browsers with a question or statement using “You” to address the browsers. Third-person language is not used on the retail websites. Language is important to the E-commerce sites because the language used needs to appeal and persuade the browsers to buy! By breaking down any communication barriers that may exist by using the third-person approach, the aim is to build a relationship with the browser, persuade and ease them towards the “Check Out” section. Bestbuy.com promotes its products with the customer in mind and refers to the customer directly. This characteristic is observed in all five websites.

One of the most important elements of the E-commerce site is the conveyance of company and establishment of strong brand name recognition. All of the five retailer websites maintains a good focus on this aim. All of them provide their logo and tagline on the main page. Bestbuy.com situates its logo and tagline “Thousand of Possibilities – Get Yours” on the right corner of its website. Gap doesn’t provide a tagline but maintains its logo on the left corner instead. Staples and Office Depot’s logo and tagline situate themselves on the left hand corner while Toysrus’s logo is put in the middle of its website.

By enforcing brand name recognition, each e-commerce site aim to create a positive link with its parent company’s reputation. At each website, some form of company information will be provided. Bestbuy.com provides information on its company news, company job availabilities as well as information for its investors. Staples.com shares with its site visitors much of its corporate details such as their commitment to the environment protection activities, affiliate programs as well as its foundation for learning program. This information creates positive affiliation with Staples’ products in the mind of the customers. Officedepot.com uses their commercial website to introduce their company history, values and even the company’s Code of Ethics. Toysrus.com and Gap.com give the least information about the retail companies. In fact, Gap.com provides only important contact information and basic introduction to the other brand names available. It does not introduce or promote its parent company; Gap Inc. on the website. However, at the bottom of the website, it links another website for more Gap Inc’s information. On this outside website, information such as commitment to social responsibility and company news bits are revealed to the interested reader. Due to Toysrus.com’s partnership with Amazon.com, the website focuses efforts on Amazon’s reputation.

All these websites are mostly in the English language. However, there are some sites that gave consideration to the international audience by providing different language or national options. A good example is Office Depot’s E-commerce site which has Spanish interface available for convenience of this specific group of customers. Gap.com and Bestbuy.com does not offer any alternative to its target audiences. Staples.com and Toysrus.com are more sensitive towards the international aspect of the websites. These two commerce sites have International mirror sites that will link to other nations. Though it may be still in English, the sites have relevant information for specific retail stores located in the local nation. This ability to reach out to different customers in many nations expands the functions of the commerce site immensely.