The client told the last web designers they wanted a website design similar to the Prada site . . .  

And so, the “showroom website” project began, seemingly without thinking about whether the overall “showroom” approach of the Prada website made sense for Company “C”.  The website design company was experienced in creating sites in Company C’s industry.  What could go wrong?  

Does it ever make sense to copy the overall look of another website, without thinking through your own strategy?

Company “C” needed to create a website of their own, and said they liked the look of the Prada website.  Who wouldn’t?  Prada is a luxury brand with a luxury look to its designer website.  But they copied the look of without thinking through their strategy . . .

Prada products are visual — most (if not all) buyers will want to see the products before purchase.  In this product category, visual is probably much more important than copy.

  • So websites in this product category can be “showrooms” — because the look of the item is likely what’s going to sell the item.
  • This is probably also true if you’re selling furniture, fabrics, clothing, jewelry, artwork, etc.   But if you’re not selling something that has this visual focus for the buyer, creating a “showroom website” might not make sense for you.

When Just Looking at Your Products Doesn’t Explain Why They’re Unique  . . .

When you have a visual focus, you can create a website that has less copy. But if I can’t be sold on your product just by looking at, you’ll likely need more copy than you’ll find on

And so Company C, a company with products that did not have a visual focus, contracted with a website design firm that specialized in beautiful websites.  And the resulting website was beautiful.

But there was little copy to engage visitors to keep them reading.  There wasn’t enough copy to really explain a differentiated positioning — the “why should I buy yours”.  And there wasn’t enough copy to convince the visitor the product was worth a premium price.

Company C needed to create an e-commerce website.  But instead, they created a brand-focused website that relied on arresting visuals to sell their product — unfortunately, their products aren’t likely to be sold with beautiful visuals.

They didn’t answer the most basic question on the mind of every visitor to their web site:  why should I buy yours?  

Especially with an unknown premium product, you have to provide a persuasive sales message to really convince the buyer to spend premium dollars to try your product.  It’s a hard sell — but one that can be done with the right sales message.

Have you seen other examples of websites that are too heavy on “showroom” and too light on sales copy?