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Great Web Sites: www.hp.com

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www.hp.com
Company: Hewlett-Packard Co., Palo Alto, Calif.
Target audience: IT decision-makers
Key Web executive: Stephanie Acker-Moy, VP-Internet and marketing services
No. of employees who work on the site: 300 worldwide
Last major redesign: June 2004
No. of pages in site: 2.5 million
Over the past five years, HP.com has been in flux, said Stephanie Acker-Moy, the company’s VP-Internet and marketing services. Its focus is shifting from “company out” to “customer in,” based on a significant amount of customer feedback and usability testing.
To that end, HP’s Web experts are making navigation easier by segmenting by customer type and delivering exactly what’s unique to each. For example, Acker-Moy said, the large enterprise business customer often looks for case studies and reference materials, so those data are compiled in a Research & Information section that’s linked right off the Large Enterprise Business site.
The company also changed the way its search engine returns results across the board. “We know there is a group of people who navigate by search. They want to intuitively type a word and find exactly what they are looking for,” Acker-Moy said.
HP recently made this happen by implementing direct links to the most commonly searched product-related information, which is set off from the rest of the search results.
Links are easier to follow, too, she said. One of the most recent changes relates to semantics, Acker-Moy said. For instance, “We had a link called ‘Software.’ Customers often thought it was something it wasn’t,” she said. Some took software to mean drivers while others thought it was software that HP sells. So HP divided the one link into two—”software products” and “support and drivers”—and now there’s no confusion.
Finally, HP, looking to boost overall support, is focusing on the full customer lifecycle.
“A lot of companies focus on one task or another—the buying evaluation phase, purchasing, the using phase and the support phase,” Acker-Moy said. “If I’m really focused on sales, my site might emphasize the purchase and not pay as much attention to support. We’ve made sure we’re addressing all phases of the customer life cycle.”  
—Karen J. Bannan


EXPERT 2¢
Shane Ginsberg: “The most impressive thing about the site is how HP has managed to encapsulate its sprawling products and services into a compact home page. The site neatly juggles the needs of enterprise, consumer and SOHO users through consistent navigation and layout.”
Jakob Nielsen: “The site has nice categorizations. Photos are sharp and simple. Search is very good as well. If you search for the product you want, you’ll get quick links to the most important things related to it—product overview, technical support, drivers and software, and manuals. It’s very easy to move around.”

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