Long time I hadn’t visited Pronto.com. Since my last visit (mid-08?), the look&feel of the homepage has not changed that much, but surprise, the category pages have a brand new layout. Also, the site structure has completely changed, Pronto.com being now split into 4 different brands. This change has been introduced in June 09 according to this press release:
Pronto is excited to announce the launch of three unique new brands under the Pronto umbrella. On June 18th, ProntoHome.com, ProntoTech.com and ProntoStyle.com will be introduced to the over 14 million consumers shopping on Pronto.com today.
What does this mean to your Pronto Merchant Solutions program? Initially, the launch of these new brands is predominantly a change to the look and feel of existing categories on Pronto. The underlying search functionality and data will not be changing. As a result, you should not expect any material changes in your click volume or click quality. Over time, however, we hope that the more tailored consumer experience will significantly increase the qualified traffic Pronto drives to retailers like you.
Some details below…
I must say, I love it!
In fact, seeing and interacting with this new design makes me think of this article “web design is 95% typography” where the author explains “95% of the information on the web is written language […] A great web designer knows how to work with text not just as content, he treats text as a user interface”, mentioning Google, craiglist, flickr… as examples. I think Pronto has greatly applied this idea of “text as a user interface” in this redesign.
The pronto.com site is the starting point of the Pronto experience, but quite quickly you are redirected to one of the following domains:
Those three sites sport a similar but slighty different design, an approach that has been retained by the new AOL Shopping launched in April, and that I find really interesting as those universes target different kind of people.
I don’t know what to think about having new site domains. I imagine it has been driven by SEO considerations (restart indexation from scratch to clean up Google index? link building between domains? get reasonable number of URLs per domain?), but it is not neutral from a branding perspective and also for the search experience…
Each site acts as a silo in terms of search index. Searching for “ipod” on ProntoTech logically brings all the Apple products, while performing the same search on ProntoHome brings Ipod accessories related to home stuff (i.e: desk lamp with Ipod dock) but no link to ProntoTech. Doing the “ipod” search on the main Pronto.com site redirects to ProntoTech.
There are also some weirdies: searching for “levis 501” on the main Pronto.com site redirects to the ProntoStyle universe, while searching for “red sneakers” brings a search result page with the “classic” Pronto style. Also, some categories that don’t fit in the new universes are still hosted on the main Pronto site (i.e: baby categories). Quite confusing, but hopefully, those issues will be fixed in the near future…
Overall, a lot of interesting ideas in those changes :)