The brand officially launched in 1991; today, Dansko footwear is available in retail locations around the world. Perhaps because its main product (the Dansko Professional clog) generates the bulk of its awareness, Dansko has created a brand with an inherent sense of legacy.
Its credo, to “make your world a little easier by providing state of the art comfort footwear” because “your comfort is our first concern,” accurately reflects what’s perceived as Dansko’s brand experience—purposeful and service-oriented over fashionable folly. Interestingly, that doesn’t completely jive with the company’s recent attempts to inject a more fashionable sensibility into its products. So we strolled over to Dansko.com to see if the company puts its best foot forward online.
As expected, Dansko.com was executed in accordance with its penchant for functionality over fashion. The main image on the homepage depicts a multi-cultural chain of people with their arms stretched out and mocking a paper chain, symbolizing Dansko’s belief that it is the “every person” brand. The site is also congruous with its offering of comfort in its voice, addressing consumers in first-person tone.
Yet without an active e-tail function, Dansko.com can only operate as an online product catalog and promotion vehicle. It performs pretty well as the former, but is lacking in the latter.
Like its shoes, the site provides a platform that is comfortable to navigate, with all the key elements of functionality featured prominently on the homepage. Users can browse products by category or search the catalog by completing a brief “Search Footwear” questionnaire where they can choose products by size, color, shoe type or size.
The comprehensive catalog section is full of detailed product descriptions, magnified product views and clickable color swatches. Each page cross-promotes a selection of similar products.
Dansko.com attempts to turn site visits into sales by providing extensive links to e-tailers, but it also links to several Mom & Pop e-tailers, which could make certain web consumers edgy. Dansko.com does, however, provide a “Shop the Outlet” link in the top right corner directing users to Danskooutlet.com, where users can find a limited selection of products with cosmetic flaws.
Users can also locate nearby stores by clicking on “Shop Finder,” which is on every page, and then clicking on a specific area on the displayed map. But since the map is so small, it is quite easy to click on the wrong area. What’s wrong with using a pull-down menu? Or a ZIP Code look-up? Like many of the site’s sections, this area desperately needs updating.
Another noticeable missing element to the site is the customer service function. The site merely has a “Contact Us” page promising a three-day turnaround on e-mail inquiries.
After browsing the entire site, it is clear why Dansko has an aura of an old school brand—its website has a somewhat archaic feeling and is in need of an overhaul. Aside from the customer service experience and retail misdirect, there are other missed opportunities to promote the brand as an experience. Sure, Dansko.com places the obligatory seasonal items on the homepage. But the absence of any kind of community or experiential element that conveys its newfound “hipness,” such as a musical element, pressroom with clips, or a section for user testimonials, indicates that the site neglects to go the extra mile.
Dansko.com doesn’t provide customers with a user experience completely on par with its self-proclaimed quality product experience. Dansko can have all the new funky designs in the world, but without maximizing use of its website to connect with consumers, its fans may be fleet-footed.