Website Analysis – Pete Smith’s Surf Shop vs. Competitors

When running a business especially during this day in age, one of the most important aspects of a business’ success is its website!  A website should most obviously be aesthetically appealing and easy to navigate for customers, while also reflecting the business’ branding styles.

When visiting a particular website, customers should be able to identify and differentiate one brand from another, while also being able to quickly access the information that they need at any given moment, such as contact information or an online shopping cart. There should also be features of a website that make it unique in itself so that it can be set apart from its competitors.

In order for all of these characteristics to come together to help a business strive, Push and Pull techniques must also be simultaneously incorporated into the different website features. Though there are many different ways to incorporate Push and Pull techniques into a brand and its website, there are a few specific tactics that really stand out amongst the options.

While analyzing the website for my main client, Pete Smith’s Surf Shop, I was able to find a few Push and Pull techniques that the business uses to increase sales and brand awareness.

When logging onto the Pete Smith’s Surf Shop website, I noticed that the first thing that stood out to me was the brightly colored authentic logo of the store, contrasted against a plain black background. The appeal of the vibrant logo definitely allowed me, as a customer, to know exactly whose website I was on at the time. Underneath the logo were the two towns in which the shops are located, in addition to two buttons that allowed page visitors to few their Facebook and Twitter sites. These buttons definitely served as part of the “pull” strategy as it motivated me, the customer, to be active and pursue the brand by checking it out on other social media outlets. Once I saw the brands Facebook page, I saw that they offer special discounts that vary on a weekly basis on Friday afternoons.

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As I continued on throughout the stores website, I was able to locate a few different headers that assisted me in navigating to exactly where I wished to go on the site. The site was divided into five different categories that were accessible to the customer and each header directed me to a different part of the website.

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The home page of Pete Smith’s Surf Shop welcomed customers to the site by informing them of their two current locations, while also providing easy to access contact information, in addition to a preview of some of the photos that they post on their different social media accounts and some of the beach brands that they carry in stores.

The “About” page of Pete Smith’s Surf Shop informed customers who wanted to know a little bit more about the history of the store, such as the date it was established and who exactly Pete Smith really is! (Hint, he is not the owner!)

The “Shop Pete Smith’s” page is a page that informs customers that the store is constantly rotating the apparel that they have available, specifically the authentic Pete Smith’s logo t-shirts. However, the “Shop Pete Smith’s” page does not allow customers to actually create a wish list or make any shopping transactions on the website, which is something that I believe the store needs to improve upon. In order to “push” the products onto the customers the store should have a shopping cart features so that customers who cannot make it into the store can still purchase merchandise!

The “Social Media” portion of the website is the fourth aspect of the site and I believe that it really demonstrates the “pull” aspect of the “Push and Pull Strategy”, very explicitly. I used the word portion to describe this section of the site, as it does not direct you to a new page when clicking upon it, like the other options do . The “Social Media” heading has a scroll-down bar that comes down below itself after it is clicked upon. Once the scroll-down bar comes up, customers can choose if they would like to follow Pete Smith’s on Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest.

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However, I noticed that the link to the business’ Twitter account was missing from this scroll-down bar, which is something that I think should be included to maximize the”pull” technique. The more platforms that customers can follow a business on, the stronger the relationship that can be created will be.

Lastly, my favorite section of my client’s website is the “Downloads” section as it is clearest example of the “pull” technique in use. This section is very unique to Pete Smith’s and it allows customers to a actually download picture content from the business that has been uploaded on social media. However, all of the downloads are adjusted to fit as backgrounds on a computer desktop so that the customer can always be thinking about the brand and does not have to go out of his or her way to reformat the original images. It is hard to forget a brand when their picture is your background, especially when the logo is located on the bottom right hand corner of each image! As one could imagine, this is a great word-of-mouth and advertising technique which are two goals of the “pull” technique!

When looking at two competitors of Pete Smith’s Surf Shop, I focused on two local companies, each that are about 15 minutes away from the two Pete Smith’s locations. The first competitor website that I browsed is “7th Street Surf Shop” located in Ocean City, New Jersey and the second competitor website that I browsed is “Kona Surf Co.” in Wildwood, New Jersey. Both stores sell very similar merchandise and have a very similar cliental within the South Jersey surfing industry.

However, each website is vastly different. These differences really made me aware of what Pete Smith’s can improve on, as well as noting their strengths, specifically from a “Push and Pull Strategy” standpoint.

When I first visited 7th Street Surf Shop’s website, I was very well aware of where I was and what the objective of the business’ website was.

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I could automatically tell that the brand was more concerned with the sport of surfing, than it was with making sure the website was aesthetically pleasing and showcased the available merchandise.

7th Street Surf Shop has three different webcams placed at the top of its website that allows page viewers to check out local sights from the beaches surrounding the store, which I thought was a feature that definitely pulls customers in. If a surfer is ever curious about how the waves are at the beach on a certain day, he or she can simply just refer to this website, which again creates a strong “pull” affect via word-of-mouth advertising. The relationship that can be built between the brand and the customer can also be strengthened with the use of these webcams as 7th Street Surf Shop can be a brand that customers can trust when they need to know local surf weather related information.

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However, though I believe that these cameras did work at some point, they did not load for myself, so that seemed to be a technical difficulty on the admin’s end, which made the site lose points in the “user friendly” category. A feature that originally “pulled” me into the website, eventually “pushed” me away in a very frustrating way due to its inability to properly work.

Additionally, 7th Street Surf Shop has a shopping cart and buying online option, that I think was great. However these features do not work either. Though I was originally disappointed that Pete Smith’s Surf Shop did not have these features, I felt that it was better to not have these options available at all, rather than to have broken options like 7th Street Surf Shop has. Each time I tried to add something to my 7th Street Surf Shop shopping cart the website informed me that there were no items available.

This, in addition to the banner on the website of 7th Street Surf Shop led me to believe that the platform had not been updated in a long time, which again pushed me away from the site.Screen Shot 2016-09-25 at 8.43.27 PM.png

7th Street Surf Shop does have active Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram buttons located at the bottom of their main page though, which demonstrates a “pull” effect in the same way that the buttons on the Pete Smith’s Surf Shop web page does. These platforms seem to be active which has potential to create relationships with customers.

The second competitor that I viewed, Kona Surf Co. has the most visually appealing and professional website out of the group.

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The welcome page to the site has rotating images with buttons that actually allow customers to click upon them and shop. Just to make sure, I did click the buttons that came up on the banners and was able to confirm that merchandise was available to be put into a shopping cart and purchased. This interactive ability to buy the items off of the website creates a nice “push” effect as the brand is advertising different items that can be bought immediately after the ad is seen.

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The Kona Surf Co. also has an “About Us” section, just like Pete Smith’s, that allows customers to read more about the brands history. Kona’s “About Us” section is much lengthier than Pete Smith’s. Though it does provide a lot of great information, some of it is unnecessary and most customers would not make it to the pages end.

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The end of the page however did have some important information about the brand, such as their mission statement, so if some of the information that was written before was cut out, it may allow for a smoother read on the visiting customers end.

After reading about Kona Surf Co. I was even able to make a purchase via the “push” strategy. Kona promoted different products for both men and women that were pictured before selecting the category of clothing that one could choose from. This promotion really pushed certain items into the eyes of customers, which I believe is one of Kona Surf Co.’s best website features and a great active example of the traditional “push” strategy.

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As one can tell, each website has its own unique set of strengths and weaknesses. Pete Smith’s Surf Shop was able to implement the “pull” technique by including social media buttons for their other platforms on their main website. 7th Street Surf Shop and Kona Surf Co. both also had their own set of buttons as well, but Pete Smith’s made their buttons the most obvious and they were the easiest to locate on the page.

Pete Smith’s Surf Shop also identified itself by creating a “Downloads” section to their website where customers could select photography taken by Pete Smith’s to be used as computer desktop backgrounds. This option is another great way to create a relationship with customers through the “pull” technique.

Though 7th Street Surf Shop’s website was very outdated and needs to be updated as soon as possible, the ideas that the site had were very creative and potentially interactive for the customers that visit it. The cameras that zoomed in on the local beaches is definitely something that if corrected could create a definite “pull” effect.

Kona Surf Co. also had a lot of great ideas on their website and it was very well organized. The featured products section of the website really is one of the most clear examples of the “push” technique in use, and most likely draws a lot of attention to whatever item is being highlighted. However, the website may need a little bit of tweaking as it reminded me more of a website for a large global company, rather an a local surf shop.

Overall, being able to note the pro’s and con’s for each website allowed me to properly analyze what parts of a website are and are not important in selling a brand and its products. Pete Smith’s Surf Shop should allow customers to shop online, while 7th Street Surf Shop should update itself, and Kona Surf Co. should try to edit some of its sections, so that it is more customer friendly. None of the websites were mobile friendly either, which is something else that could improve all of the brands.


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