Even though the popularity of Dell, the Texas personal computer manufacturer and retailer, has waned somewhat in recent years since its peak in the early 2000s, the company’s website remains robust, slick, and useful for individual consumers as well as businesses.
Dell.com: PC Giant's Presence on the Web Remains Solid
Even though the popularity of Dell, the Texas personal computer manufacturer and retailer, has waned somewhat in recent years since its peak in the early 2000s, the company's website remains robust, slick, and useful for individual consumers as well as businesses.
It's critical for a company like Dell to maintain a strong and user-friendly website because it has for the most part conducted its business without working through major retailers. Between 1994 and 2007, the way to get a Dell computer was almost exclusively through the company directly, which meant either by phone, at one of its few retail stores, or, most commonly, through the web. While Dell has returned to selling certain products at a handful of popular retail stores, it's still a company known for its E-Business.
The Premier Account
On Dell.com, customers can create either a basic account or an account through what they call Dell Premier.
Unsurprisingly, the Premier account is intended primarily for businesses that intend to place large, expensive orders. Premier gives users access to a more customized website, shopping and ordering guide, online IT features, ongoing technical support, and an online community of other Premier members. Additionally, a Premier account enables users to easily track previous orders and match their existing equipment with compatible items. Also, Premier users are able to shop at negotiated prices depending on the quantity of items purchased and past dollar amounts spent.
While the Premier account on Dell.com is essential for businesses or organizations that have ongoing ordering and IT needs, accessing the standard portion of Dell.com with a regular account still yields impressive results.
The Homepage and Basic Functionality
The current iteration of Dell.com successfully balances multiple objectives: to display aesthetically pleasing advertising that facilitates sales, to lead existing and potential customers to solutions to problems, and to allow users to easily order the precise items they want.
The homepage of the website typically displays eight squares that feature images and descriptions of popular products that Dell is promoting. Just below are panels summarizing popular services, hot deals, and recent news. This space also allows users to access television ads Dell currently has on the air.
At the top of the homepage is the search bar for the well-tuned, clutter-free site search engine that leads customers seamlessly to the products and support documents they seek. Additionally, Dell's well known phone number is prominently listed.
The menu bar on the home page is simplistic and sleek. It is organized on the highest level by type of customer, and then by type of product.
The homepage organization gets high marks for its clean, appealing look, and because the page only scrolls down a small margin before reaching its end.
Finding and Ordering Products
While Dell.com becomes more cluttered as one navigates to product category pages and to pages featuring the products themselves, the website is still average-to-above-average compared with competitors in terms of balancing the need to display important information with the need to keep the site clean enough for customers to quickly navigate through it.
As is standard with most contemporary retail sites that sell sophisticated products, the left panel of each product category page provides users with numerous options for filtering their searches so they can find products most narrowly tailored to their needs. With the click of a check-box, users can quickly cut through the clutter and find the product that best suits them.
Thankfully, the designers of Dell.com resist the temptation of providing too much hyperlinking and customization options that often gets in the way of user experience. The look and feel of the site maintains a consistent look regardless of where a customer is in the process of searching for or purchasing products, which is enormously useful.
Finalizing orders through the use of the "cart" function is nothing extraordinary, but it works well. Shipping and payment confirmation is handled in a straightforward manner, which gives customers confidence that they will receive their desired products without hassle.
Even without a Premier account, users can easily gain access to direct technical support, documents, FAQs, and drivers and software updates on Dell.com.
Because Dell has had such a strong web presence to support sales, ordering, and technical support for so many years, it's clear that the company has made its website central to its model in the future and that it has learned lessons from past mistakes. This benefits users because Dell.com is slick, reliable, and easy to use, and there are mountains of resources that can be accessed easily.
Even if Dell is no longer the leading PC company in the United States, its web presence at Dell.com is still strong and is a huge plus for the company generally.