Allow me to start with a gross over-generalization: retailers would rather investors get lost in their product offerings than find useful information about them. I say this after poking around on a number of retailers’ web sites. By and large, it is very difficult to find your way to the investor relations page from most retailers’ home page as the home pages are cluttered with wiz-bang deals for goods on offer you just can’t refuse. My poster child for this problem is Sainsbury’s, the British supermarket chain. I started out at their home page and went to the logical spot, “About Sainsbury’s”, conveniently displayed at the top of their home page. Nope, IR is not in “About Sainsbury’s”. Nothing remotely resembling investor relations is listed under that tab.
Then I looked at the “Online Community” tab. Nope, not there either. A perusal of their FAQs was of no use, and given all that went before, it was no surprise that their Help function was of no help either. I was a bit put off by this point, but hey, these are only the owners of the company trying to get information, so why should management care if it is readily available? Finally, after much searching and a high level of frustration, I found a tiny tab at the bottom of the home page entitled, “Corporate Site”. In desperation, I clicked on it and, what do you know, I finally got somewhere where I could learn about the company as an investment.
This is the worst design I’ve seen so far in terms of getting to the investor relations information area. It took me at least 6 clicks to get there, – three times as many as your normal site and there was a very high treasure hunt factor involved. Given that many investors today have an attention span roughly equivalent to the life span of a Mayfly, many will give up before they find out where to go. On my completely arbitrary ratings scale of 1 (lowest) to 10 (highest), I give this a 5, a failing grade. The only reason the ranking isn’t lower is that the investor relations section, when you finally get to it, is fairly serviceable.
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