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HOOVER'S REVAMPED WEB SITE ECHOES ADS, EASES NAVIGAITON.

NORTH CANTON, Ohio-It's the "oooh" factor.

Hoover has completely redesigned its Web site, and the overriding aim was to replicate the excitement of the company's advertising, said Lisa Roman, manager of Interactive marketing. At the same time, she claimed success in improving the navigation process.

"We wanted to update" Hoover.com for a while, she noted. "It has the look and feel more in line with the new, innovative products [that] are coming out.

"It's also more in line with our advertising on television and in print. There's more movement, more animation, more use of sound."

That's especially true of Fold Away, the new upright whose handle swivels 180 degrees to save storage space. "We were blatantly stealing from our national advertising to leave you humming," said Roman.

Emphasis on clarity begins with the home page, which displays a featured model. The page also provides direct access to six product categories, parts, accessories and manuals; a comprehensive site index; a retail locator; a link to one of 10 featured retail partners; company news and history; and a search function.

Early this month, three machines alternated on page one: the electronic bagless canister, Fold Away and Silent Air air purifier. Roman said each gets about 70 percent of the placements on a given day.

Product information was designed to address two audiences: current Hoover owners and new shoppers, she noted. Roman developed more mini-sites than in the past to "manage all that information. There are so many products in so many sites," she observed.

Every model gets a page with features listings and photograph. Every category gets a roster of models and the option to select any number for comparison.

The Site Index reads like a comprehensive table of contents from a book. It provides direct access to more than three dozen entries, including what Roman called "an ever-growing list" presently with micro sites for four products and virtual tours of five machines. These provide a variety of information and animation, including rotating machines to see them from every side.

The Web site also incorporates a Shopping Assistant page. Initially it offers suggestions on picking a vacuum cleaner and definitions of bagless, WindTunnel, deep cleaning and allergen filtration. Roman promised quick expansion of the section, and said assembly videos for every new model will be added.

"As far as I know, this assembly feature is unique," she said.

Another unusual feature enhances the retailer locator. Hoover offers a link to driving instructions after selecting a particular store.

Hoover.com also includes a customer-service question resource; information about classroom materials and community outreach; and a growing archive of press releases and company awards.
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Author:Beatty, Gerry
Publication:HFN The Weekly Newspaper for the Home Furnishing Network
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jul 14, 2003
Words:441
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