Documents > Reports > Watch making industry (November 2000)
 
Preliminary report
15 websites scanned - Dates: November 23-24, 2000:
Baume & Mercier - Chopard & Cie - Daniel Roth - Favre-Leuba - Franck Muller - Gérald Genta - Harry Winston -
Michel Jordi - Montres Universal - Patek Philippe - Piaget - Philippe Charriol - Raymond Weil - Rolex -
Vacheron & Constantin.
1. General aspects:
1.1. Search engine visibility - Test: Yahoo, Altavista:
Amazingly deficient when considering we used ordinary keywords - listed here below - to perform the search; i.e. whether in French or English, only 2 of the above listed companies eventually appear on the first page of results?! Yet… apart from all industry related press releases, newsletters and various auction sites, it was rather funny to fall upon an US military website!...
As stated in the Documents area, only companies meeting specific conditions are selected for our survey; other watch manufacturers did show on the first page of results - through just a couple of combinations - thus not considered in the following.
Research with the following combinations Altavista Yahoo
+montre/s +geneve
+montre/s +genève
+montre/s +Geneve
+montre/s +Genève
+acheter +montre/s +geneve
+acheter +montre/s +genève
+acheter +montre/s +Geneve
+acheter +montre/s +Genève
+watch/es +geneva
+watch/es +Geneva
+buy +watch/Es +Geneva
+buy +watch/Es +Geneva
0 / 1
0 / 2
0 / 2
0 / 2
0 / 0
0 / 0
0 / 0
0 / 0
0 / 1
1 / 1
0 / 0
0 / 0
0 / 2
0 / 2
0 / 2
0 / 2
0 / 0
0 / 0
0 / 0
0 / 0
1 / 1
1 / 1
0 / 0
0 / 0
These results give an obvious idea of what efforts remain to be done accordingly …
1.2. Websites compatibility with browsers:
This analysis will be performed upon request...
2. Ease of download:
The average amount of slow pages on the scanned sites is 25%; i.e. the size of the related pages is bigger than 30 KB… Reminder of the custom: Internet users will leave your website if a page is not loaded in less than 10 seconds!
Apart from 4 sites we could not scan - 1 under construction, the others nonexistent? - it is rather difficult to make an overall comment, as some big sites have only a 'couple' of slow pages, while it takes 'ages' to surf on other small ones...
Nevertheless, most websites incorporate the Flash technology, which encourages design abuse, breaks the Internet fundamentals and distracts attention from the site's core value. We do acknowledge the fact that the watch making industry is about creativity, attractiveness and splendor... but one of the major Internet principles is INTERACTION - users control their own destiny; i.e. a website should provide them with the information they are looking for, as quickly and easily as possible.
A Flash session is very pleasant and could therefore be used... but scarcely! keeping in mind that users with a normal 56K modem connection will not be able to 'enjoy' it for what it is - a gimmick that only increases time of download; i.e. they will leave the site...
3. Ease of use:
3.1. Broken links:
As for all the other surveys, the number of broken links is very low. What does it mean? On the one hand - internally - that the sites are well managed (regular checks and clean-ups), bringing to a minimum the number of bugs which could occur while surfing on a site (one good point!). On the other hand - externally - it shows that again, these websites are not connected to others; i.e. they are functioning like islands ignoring one another - which is the exact opposite of the Web purpose - therefore becoming invisible for the search engines which pick up sites ONLY with regards to the number of links they have with other sites having a similar content (e.g. Google).
Moreover, the most important argument is that broken links frustrate your audiences/customers and make you look bad...
3.2. Attributes:
An attribute consists of tags (information) regarding the height, width and alt (alternative text description for an object) of an image on a webpage. Adding these tags decreases the time needed for a browser to render a page when requested.
Furthermore, an alt tag (name) allows to reduces "further" surfing difficulties; i.e. for even slightly disabled people or for users with the 'image function' turned off.
Here, missing attributes average out at 45%, situation that could be rather easily improved... Yet, if adding an alt tag is technically VERY easy, think about the amount of patience needed when it comes to searching for every single image over hundreds or thousands of objects!!!...
Needless to say the more detailed a project is planned, the less amendments to be made later...
4. High quality content:
Again, an overall comment cannot be made... yet, one fact the above sites all have in common - apart from the collections - is the nonexistence of a recruitment section nor a supplier 'information package'. What about people who might be interested to join the company or potential 'office suppliers' (non production-process related goods), who would like to know which requirements they have to meet?
Another observation is that none of them does e-commerce; i.e. it is impossible to buy an item on-line. We mentioned auction sites in part 1.1. resulting from our search engine visibility test; what we did NOT mention is the tremendous number of websites offering pre-owned or fake items of almost any famous brand... Does it mean it is easier to get a 'copy' than a certified watch on the Internet?!? Furthermore, why would it be possible to buy almost everything on-line... except a watch?
5. Frequent updates:
Overall, 20% of the pages are more than 4 months old... however, this ratio shows a relative 'freshness of content' as the industry is governed by the collections' rhythm...
Besides, the software used to perform this analysis determines the 'last modification date' by reading the header codes returned by the server when a page is requested. So, websites setting the 'date of the day' instead of the 'last modification date' of a page render the test impossible; i.e. some pages might be 'old' but they are not visible... we therefore cannot establish which elements should be 'updated' on the related sites.
However, what should be kept in mind is that updated information increases recurrent traffic, customer satisfaction and therefore helps building trust! - in addition to the fact that old content should be examined to ensure it is still relevant!?!...
 
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