Peter VanRysdam / Digital Marketing / July 31st, 2007

New Web Site Rating System Flawed at Best

So Accenture launched a Web site evaluation service creatively called the Accenture Web Evaluator.  On its face it sounds good, saying it will “assess how well companies use their Web sites to support their brand, attract customers, deliver services, and generate sales.”  Sounds all good, until they show off their benchmark sites, which they rated as the top five under these categories.  They include:

Nike.com
Ford.com
Google.com
Adidas.com

Microsoft.com

A couple of these I agree with whole heartedly.  Google is the epitome of usability with the simplest interface letting the customer get right where they want to go without wading through ads or useless content (ala yahoo, for example).  Even with as simple as the site is, you’re still just a click away from everything the site has to offer.

Microsoft and Ford each have sites with considerably more content, but again it is simple to navigate and find where you’re going.  Microsoft especially has a great search feature that has also helped me find whatever I need.

So that brings me to nike and adidas.  I was shocked to see them on the list, especially nike.  To me that is the most frustrating site.  It tries so hard to be cool that is misses the point in my opinion, which is selling stuff.  For me, Nike.com is the site that wins the awards because it looks cool, but doesn’t perform in the real world. 

My biggest complaint is the product categorization.  I think they expect people to be way more familiar with their brand then most are.  For example, what is the difference between the Sport Culture, Sports Essentials, and Nike Zoom collections?  No idea here, but I have to choose between then in order to find a shoe.  Yes there are other ways to search, but for me it’s just too much.  The simpler the better imho.

Adidas is no better, hiding the “shop” button in the lower right of the homepage.  I’m sure most people come to the site to read about careers at adidas!  I can learn about the shoes off the homepage, but it takes me to a new site when I want to shop.  Adidas does a better job of product organization than nike once you get there, organizing solely by sport rather than category names known only to the nike brand managers. 

I’ve never bought from either site, not for lack of trying.  I usually get frustrated and end up on zappos or even sport authority…sites that don’t look near as cool, but get the job done much better for me.

If you ask me, Accenture came to these sites to evaluate them and looked at them from a coolness factor rather than actually going through the processes a customer would.  Ok, I’m sure they did much more than that, but that is the only way I can explain sites like nike getting on a list with google.