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Hewlett-Packard takes top spot in NetMarketing 100

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Every year, BtoB evaluates about 800 Web sites in 14 industry categories to determine which have earned a spot in the NetMarketing 100, our list of the best b-to-b Web sites. For this year's full list, click here: http://www.btobonline.com/netMarketing200/2003/index.html

Hewlett-Packard Co., Palo Alto, Calif., was named No. 1 in this year’s NetMarketing 100, BtoB’s annual ranking of the top b-to-b Web sites.

The site, which was re-launched last May at www.hp.com following Hewlett-Packard’s merger with Compaq Computer Corp., scored 98 out of 100 possible points. BtoB judges evaluated the sites based on quality and presentation of information, ease of navigation, design, e-commerce and site extras such as online chat and e-newsletters.

HP’s primary Web development agency is Agency.com, New York, and it uses a variety of software and services for functions ranging from Web site usage to analytics.

"We want to create the best-in-class, full life-cycle experience for all of our customer segments," said Marius Haas, VP-eBusiness at HP, who is in charge of HP.com. Those customer segments include home and home office users, small and midsize businesses, enterprises, government and education users, and partners and developers.

One of the biggest obstacles the site has overcome is the integration of data after its acquisition of Compaq. The combined site has 2.5 million pages and roughly 1,900 site areas. HP collects 13 million records a day from events taking place on the site, such as users clicking on links or purchasing products.

"The integration with Compaq was a big challenge, and they handled it really well," said Rob Rosenthal,
senior analyst at research firm IDC. "You have two very large companies with a lot of information on both sites, and you have to present it coherently. HP has put a lot of work into content management."

It shows.

Through the use of extensive data analytics and a commitment to the customer experience, HP has designed a site that is streamlined and efficient for its various audiences. The site presents content in an organized, compelling way.

Upon entering the site, users can click directly into their customer segment, such as enterprise, and then search for information by product or by solution. Or they can go from the home page directly into a product category, where the experience is customized for each customer segment.

"We want to build a long-lasting, personalized customer relationship," Haas said. To that end, HP has developed many tools on its site that build and extend customer relationships.

It offers several ways to buy HP and Compaq products online, including a home and home office store, a small and midsize business store, a parts store, a refurbished products store, and HP.com Business to Business—an extensive site that allows HP business customers and partners to conduct e-business in a secure environment.

Among the features on the HP.com b-to-b site are online purchasing (integrated with software from Ariba, Commerce One, SAP, Oracle, PeopleSoft and RightWorks), navigation tailored to IT purchasing, and product configuration.

The b-to-b site also allows companies to create customized catalogs for frequently purchased products, set up automatic approval routing for orders (which specifies who can make purchase decisions) and conduct end-to-end transaction processing.

To further build relationships with customers, HP.com features Flash demos that show customers how to use the site, e-newsletters, live chats with sales reps, online classes and real-time customer support. Customers can personalize the content they receive, as well as the frequency of the newsletters and alerts.

To support the HP.com site, Haas has a Web site staff of more than 300 people, spread out globally. The e-business group partners with various HP business groups, such as desktops, portables and workstations, to develop and maintain content on the site. Product marketing teams work with the business group teams to create product messaging, and regional teams provide translation and localization of content for 64 country sites. The HP.com content is translated into more than 35 languages.

Haas reports to Michael Winkler, exec VP-CMO, and to Jeff Clarke, exec VP-global operations.

One of the biggest projects has been to optimize the site’s navigational path through the study of clickstreams and online behavior. Through tagging, HP can look at backtracking, which occurs when users click to one area but then go back, usually as a result of not finding what they’re looking for.

HP is also using analytics to optimize sales of products online through functions such as shopping cart analysis.

While the Web site is budgeted primarily out of HP’s e-business group, it is governed by various business units to ensure the site is meeting the needs of the units, Haas said. If a particular department, such as marketing, has a specific Web project, such as an integrated marketing campaign, the project will be partially funded by that department.

HP’s efforts seem to be paying off; roughly 55% of the company’s total sales come from the Web site.

Recently, a business customer was looking for a product on HP.com and instigated a live chat session with an online sales rep. The HP salesperson followed up with a live call, resulting in a $3.2 million order. Haas declined to name the customer, although he said it was one of HP’s largest retail customers.

HP was also recently named No. 1 by The Customer Respect Group in its 2003 Online Customer Respect Study, which ranks the top 100 U.S. companies on online customer service.

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