The future has arrived for Coach, and at least for the moment, it comes in the form of a shiny new website, full of lots of monster-sized product images and new, easier navigation for shoppers looking for that perfect bag. It’s been a long time coming for the brand, whose e-commerce setup has lately felt a bit stale in comparison to department stores’ sites and other online retailers, many of whom carry Coach bags. This new, shopper-friendly design definitely puts the brand on the right track, but it also made us wonder – why do so many designers have such terrible websites?
As someone who spends a fair portion of her life visiting the various online outposts of brands both low and high, I can say with confidence that very, very few of them get it right. Some of the biggest brands in the world make it incredibly difficult to find information on a particular product, and even when it’s there, it’s often hidden behind walls of buggy flash graphics, non-intuitive menus and lots of information about things like the brand’s latest ad campaigns, which most shoppers don’t care about at all. As beautiful as the new season’s supermodel of choice may be, I certainly didn’t go to a brand’s website to admire her. If you eventually do find the piece you’re looking for, there’s no guarantee that the images of it will be helpful, the information about it complete or the opportunity to purchase it even available.
I understand that not only do designers have an image to hold up, but they also want to hold on to an air of exclusivity that can be challenging to maintain through the impersonal world of online shopping. Requiring feats of e-strength doesn’t seem to be the best way to keep out the riff-raff, though, and most brands would do well to take a page from Coach. The new site’s big, beautiful images make the products look expensive and desirable, but you also get plenty of angles and a shot of a model holding the bag for reference. Who says pretty can’t be practical? The new site also features street style images by The Sartorialist, images of celebs carrying Coach and the brand’s current campaigns, but none of that content gets in the way of customers easily navigating to the products they’re interested in and becoming more educated about their purchases. You feel like you’re in the world of Coach, but you don’t feel like you’re being imprisoned there, never to return to the regular Internet.
Ball’s in your court, Everyone Who Is Not Coach. (I’m looking at you, Louis Vuitton.) In the meantime, shop the brand new Coach.com now.