Snap-on Tools URL

Snap-on Tools URL

Organization

Snap-on uses an ambiguous structure on its homepage. The top right corner of the screen is task-focused and gives prospective customers a chance to log-in, look at their wish list, contact a franchisee, contact customer support or look at their shopping cart. The next set of links are topical in nature: catalog index, digital catalog, new products, parts catalog, labels and merchandising, and gift ideas. The center of the screen is also topical in nature. There is a single image of a product promotion with separate product tabs above it. The separate tabs give customers the option of looking at specific categories of tools: all tools, hand tools, power tools, and tool storage. Below the promotional product exists four distinct boxes targeting different audiences: industrial/government; student excellence program; franchisee opportunities and Snap-on Corporate.

The ambiguous organization provides multiple audiences opportunities to either perform tasks or look for information on a specific product. Unfortunately, consumers who are looking to buy product may not know how to reach the store front. Clicking on one of the product categories leads the user to another page where they must select a specific product. In fact, the consumer is separated from the online store by at least three clicks. The alternative is to use the search bar in the upper left hand corner. Typing a term in this area, such as “ratchet” or “hammer” and performing a search will immediately lead the consumer to the store front.

Labeling

Most of the Snap-on labels are common to web sites with online ordering capabilities, such as wish list, shopping cart, or customer service. The catalog index leads where the typical consumer would expect it to lead: a listing of products, sorted alphabetically. Here, the web site has a problem with its labels. If a consumer were looking for ratchets or sockets by this listing, they might not think to look under the ¼ drive, ½ drive or 3/8 drive headings. Although this is a standard designation for automotive mechanics, many do-it-yourself home mechanics may not make this connection. This oversight interesting considering Snap-on is known for making the best ratchets and sockets in the industry and these items are their top sellers.

It takes a consumer about three separate clicks to get to a product screen where he or she can add the tool to a shopping cart. The order screen has a hyperlink on the Price heading. There are also two asterisks here next to the heading, but clicking on the link leads nowhere. There is no explanation for these asterisks. Does this mean that the prices may fluctuate or that the item is on sale? Does it mean something else altogether? The consumer cannot tell from the provided information.

Navigation

Global navigation links remain at the top and bottom of every screen in the product catalog. However, once consumers navigate to a specific category like hand tools, there are no links that would lead into another category such as power tools. The user would have to either click on product index first, to return to the A to Z listing, or use the search bar in the upper left hand corner of the screen. Unlike Amazon or other online stores, Snap-on’s search feature does not lead to a list of items with pictures of the product. The search reveals a list of hyperlinks with labels that may or may not help. This component could use more pictures to aid consumers looking for products.

Home Page

Depending on the target audience, Snap-on's site fulfills the five criteria outlined by Janice Redish in Letting Go of the Words: "identify the site/establish the brand; setting the tone and personality of the site; helping people get a sense what the site is about; letting people start key tasks immediately; and sending people the right way, effectively and efficiently" (47-48). Snap-on’s site contains the company name. The “s” is embellished with a wrench, which is the company logo. The site does not contain a tag line, explaining the purpose of the company. Since Snap-on is the world leader in professional tools, this is not be necessary. The home page employs a no-nonsense theme of gray and white with a red highlights and a few splashes of blue. The page presents information in a clean and orderly way. It suggests efficiency, but not friendliness. It feels kind of sterile. People who come to this site will recognize right away that the company wants to sell tools,plain and simple. The visible part of the screen offers catalog information, parts help, customer service, a shopping cart, a search bar and tool categories. The deal of the week is in the center of the screen. Since the site is geared toward consumers, most of the tasks are visible above the fold. Current government, industrial and tech school customers, however, might be confused. These three groups of customers could order tools from the consumer site, but they would not receive their standard discount. If these customers are looking at the site on a small screen, say a netbook or an iPhone, they will not see the links at the bottom of the screen that lead to their sections of the web site.

Pathway Pages

Snap-on follows most of the advice about pathway pages offered by Redish in Letting Go of the Words, but there is still room for improvement. Snap-on uses a three-tier approach to its pathway pages. From the home page, the consumer can click on one of the 6 general product categories: all, hand tools, power tools, tools storage, diagnostic, and shop tools. The problem with the first tier is that images fill the top half of each of the six general category pages. The images are somewhat redundant as they show examples of each of the categories. There is also some marketing images on these page. The first-tier pathway pages list all the products on the bottom half of the screen. Clicking on one of the items in the listed products will lead to a second pathway page that breaks the product line into more distinct categories. For example, the primary pathway page for all tools offers an option of hammers (95). The secondary pathway page splits this into four main categories with various subcategories under each heading. Professional mechanics will know the difference between a ball peen, dead blow and heavy duty; the average consumer won’t recognize “dead blow” as it is a trademark name specific to Snap-on. Once the consumer finds the correct category and subcategory, he or she can click on a link that leads to a list of items for purchase. This list is an order screen with a picture, an item number, a brief description, the price, an option to select quantity and an option to add the item to the shopping cart. The main problem with the final pathway page is consistency. Not all of the items have pictures or descriptions. Some of the items instruct consumers to call customer service to purchase. After three clicks, this might be an unsatisfactory experience for the consumer.