IBM Revamps Web Site Again

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IBM once again redesigned its Web site, IBM.com, late last month in the United States and Canada using information gathered from customer surveys and focus group research data. The site's new focus is on making it easier to browse and buy, providing real-time tech support and allowing users to better manage their accounts.


This marks the sixth year in a row that IBM, Armonk, NY, has created a new version of its site. The main change was the creation of three hubs for products and services; support and downloads; and account management.


The project's multimillion-dollar price tag is becoming a necessary expense to keep up with the rapidly changing hi-tech marketplace, according to David Bradley, vice president of marketing and strategy at IBM.com, White Plains, NY.


"We will always be in search of the next level of attainment to shoot for," he said. "We will have to evolve as the technology itself advances and as the content and IBM's own technology advances."


He described the Web site as a "living and breathing entity that will need to have a continuous stream of investments put into it to update it."


Bradley said the market research helped IBM realize that the more tech-savvy the individual, the larger the budget they control. He said it is becoming more important for the site to focus on content and style that is more appealing to tech-savvy browsers and consumers, while keeping it friendly to all users.


The first of the three new hubs -- the products and services section -- creates more efficient access to a direct link to a listing of product categories and the purchasing option.


The support and downloads hub gives users the opportunity to converse directly with support professionals. Customers can converse with a live sales representative by clicking on buttons such as "chat with a live rep" and "call me now."


The "my account" hub represents IBM.com's first venture into the "e-relationship" management field. It allows consumers to check their shopping carts, create new accounts, look at their order history and status, reset their passwords and subscribe to IBM newsletters.


The new version of the site will continue to debut throughout the world until the end of May. The site is available in 59 countries and 31 languages.


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