Weekly Content Critique: Take Your Dog for a Car Ride

We all know that dogs are like kids. They (dogs) have their own beds, backpacks, bejeweled accessories, clothes, shoes, toys… the list goes on. So you shouldn’t be surprised by this Zoom II dog car seat by Pet-Super-Store.com. While I was Googling to locate this page after misplacing the link sent to me a few weeks ago, I came across the manufacturer’s product page for the same car seat. Just for kicks, I’m going to compare the two pages.

The introduction: 5 pings

5-pings (wide)

Pet-super-store.com [sic] uses a tried-and-true copywriting tactic–the question.

Does your dog refuse to sit still in the car? Is your car a mess after every ride?

After reading those two questions, some consumers will practically be selling themselves on this seat. If only the company had applied the same basic skill to writing their own name.

By contrast, the manufacturer’s (Snoozer) first line suggests that this seat is strictly for small dogs to snuggle in while you’re driving them around. If you’re the kind of person who would love to build your dog a small mansion, this angle will work. But you’re occupying a serious minority (like, say, 1% of all dog owners).

Informative copy: 4 pings

The description of this car seat reads like a narrative, which I enjoyed. It’s lacking structure, but the text presents problems and solutions to those problems.

Snoozer, though, leaves me feeling like I have an obligation to provide my pet with a “cozy place to travel.” Opinions on pet products aside, this is not the smartest sales ploy.

Let’s imagine we’re dog owners (I sometimes like to pretend I have a dog in my weekly posts). Do we care about about our dogs’ comfort in the car? Absolutely.dog car seat

Do we also care about how messy cars get and how much cleaning we’ll have to do after trips to the dog park? How about keeping track of toys and bowls and leashes? And keeping our dogs safely in the backseat instead of on our laps and the steering wheel and halfway out the windows? Of course we do.

Do I want to know how easy it will be to clean up if I take a spontaneous road trip to Seattle with no bathroom breaks? You bet.

Effective images: 2 pings

2-pings (wide)
The image above is right kind of product image–lifestyle shots invariably increase conversion. But it’s also the only product image. I hear there’s a drawer. What does that look like? How do the safety strap and car seat belt attachment work?

Images sometimes convey more than writing, no matter how good your writing. The page redeems itself a little with this collection of swatches. And thanks to relatively thorough copy, I even know what kind of fabric is used for each pattern.

What I’m buying: 2 pings

2-pings (wide)

Maybe I’m missing something, but I can’t visualize how a drawer is able to slide out of a foam frame. Foam isn’t smooth. What’s this drawer made of? Is it a separate piece? My point is that there’s not enough information about the components of this seat, how they fit together, and whether or not I have to assemble the product.

Design: 3 pings

3-pings (wide)

As a standalone, this page is fine. Nothing exciting, probably smack in the middle at 2 or 2.5 pings. But taken as one of two different designs, this one is looking real good. Snoozer’s page uses various shades of a sickly green color and tacky stock icons. It does not use space well–almost half of the page is advertising for other products on the site. Pet-super-store.com does devote most of the page space to information about the featured product. This is grade school stuff. So our page gets a bump.

Final score: 3 pings

3-pings (wide)

Tell me, which of these sites are you more likely to trust and buy from–the one with good customer service information and usability features…

…or the one with a cheesy design and vague claims?

See the full page

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