Costco and Sam’s Club are stores that sell innumerable products, so having effective websites is imperative. Comparing the two websites using these three 1-5 point scales shows that Costco’s website is better. The first area of evaluation is the organization and ease of navigation. Each website earns points depending on how intuitive their website layout is, how easy it is to find items, how they categorize items, and how quick navigation is. Next is clarity of item descriptions.
They earn more points on the amount of information given and lose points for making the information difficult to read.
Finally, the websites earn points for effective product and store promotion. They earn higher scores for more convincing and well-made advertisements, and lower scores for poor advertisements. The first criterion looks at the homepage to see how readable it is. Sam’s Club’s website has a small bar at the top for account information, order status, wish lists, and insider email; however, the font is small and light grey, and the background is white.
Costco’s also has the same buttons, but also includes an additional store locations button and an order by item number button. The medium sized font is dark grey rather than light grey and the background is white, so it is very readable. Both websites have bars for item categories near the top of their homepages, but Costco’s is in large black font, compared to Sam’s Club’s small baby blue font. Costco and Sam’s Club have a hierarchy that allows looking at product categories, but Costco’s is more useful.
For the same HP Inkjet 8500a found by using Costco’s search bar in the top left of their homepage and Sam’s Club’s in the middle of their home page, Costco’s hierarchy is computers < printers & all-in-ones < Color inkjet all-in-one. Sam’s Club’s is Sam’s Club < Electronics < Instant Savings < Computers & Accessories. Costco scored a 3. 5 and Sam’s Club a 2. Criterion number two is clarity and completeness of information. The aforementioned search bar can find the Canon Rebel T2i package on both websites by searching for it.
Full details are available on the manufacturer’s website, so it is a good candidate to compare completeness of information. Sam’s Club has a detailed specification chart for the Cannon Rebel T2i, mentioning that the T2i has a viewfinder coverage of 95%, and that the package comes specifically with an AVC-DC400ST AV cable rather than an AV cable as per Costco’s website. The charts also have specific model numbers for the charger (LC-E8E), battery pack (LP-E8), and strap (EW-100DBIII).
The product page at Costco has a product description that contains a narrative on the potential uses of the camera’s abilities such as shooting in dim environments by using ISO 6400 or using the camera’s 9-point AF system for precision focus. Costco has a list of features and basic technical specifications for the camera above and an accessories list below the main description. The information Costco provides is succinct and may be better suited for average consumers, but Sam’s Club clearly has more detail, however, those may be superfluous to many customers. Costco scores a 3 and Sam’s Club a 4 for this area.
The last category is advertisements. Costco and Sam’s Club both have good advertisements at the top of their respective homepages that cycle through several different advertisements, all of which are appropriate. Costco has an advertisement for a Costco membership, which is important because they must get customers to buy a membership first so they can buy products. Scrolling down, they both have nearly identical advertisements for specific products. Those advertisements have a small thumbnail picture, a name, and price. Sam’s Club has a small advertisement bar at the top on product pages and a sidebar with popular items that are similar.
Costco also has a sidebar with similar popular items, but also bundles related products together on the same page, such as software and tech support with a computer. Costco beats Sam’s Club with a 4 compared to a 3. 5 in this category because putting complimentary items together is a strong strategy. After comparing, Costco is more organized because the categories that they sorted their products with are smarter and more helpful than what Sam’s Club’s website uses. Sam’s Club’s website uses a font that is too small, and often times their font color is nearly the same as their background color.
Sam’s Club has more detailed product descriptions, but a lot of them are not actually useful to the general consumer. On the other hand, consumers can easily skip over that information. Costco does not provide as much information as Sam’s Club, but the information they do provide is relevant. Both websites have very similar marketing schemes, but Costco advertises associated products in their product descriptions, which is a good advertising technique. Costco is the winner with a total rating of 10. 5/15, and Sam’s Club only a 9. 5/15.