Company: Gateway, Irvine, Calif.
Target audience: Business and consumer technology decision-makers
Key Web executive: Ajit Sivadasan, director, Web merchandizing and production
No. of employees who work on the site: 15-20 (all internal)
Last major redesign: July 2004
No. of pages in site: N/A
Gateway.com got a spring cleaning this summer. Its site designers made everything a lot simpler and less cluttered, starting with the way customers access the site, said Ajit Sivadasan, director of Web merchandizing and production for Gateway.com.
Six months ago, customers had multiple ways of browsing the site, including by customer segment and product. Today, visitors are asked to identify their segment—home & home office, small business, medium & large business, government or education—and enter based on that criterion.
This method of entry results in faster downloads and less confusion, Sivadasan said. Most important, it’s creating happier customers and a better bottom line. The company has seen a 10% to 15% reduction in overall cart abandonment since the redesign went into effect.
“We try to be less complicated to the extent that is possible,” Sivadasan said. “Our design and aesthetics of the site is actually one of the strengths that help us achieve that. We’re trying to connect better than the company in Austin,” he said, referring to competitor Dell Computer Corp.
Simple doesn’t mean sparse, however. The company’s Web site acts as a huge repository of customer support data presented in a more casual and less technical manner than its competitors, Sivadasan said. Gateway wants to solve its customers’ problems even if those problems don’t originate with its own products. For example, Gateway’s site is a popular destination during virus attacks, so its designers added a link to up-to-date virus data.
“Even our competitors’ customers are coming to our site for virus information. We identified that and gave the subject prominence on our site. It’s a constant process of prioritizing what’s important,” Sivadasan said.
—Karen J. Bannan
Shane Ginsberg: “Gateway is now a martyr in the brutal arena of direct e-commerce. When adversaries relentlessly strike on price, distribution, fulfillment, brand and selection—Gateway takes its stand on customer service. Features such as Remote Assistance make this site stand apart from the typical cheap PC/electronics online vendor.”
Jakob Nielsen: “I like the support section. For example, if you’re not sure what notebook you have, they tell you where to find the model number. That’s good.”