Same Product, Totally Different Brand Experience

I wanted to see how different retailers sold the same product, and so, for the sake of this study, randomly picked the Alpine CDE-9870 car CD system and compared it with 2 retailers specializing in car stereo systems:

– Crutchfield
– Car Toys

Both Crutchfield and Car Toys are established multi-channel players. Crutchfield mails out 6 million catalogs (Source: and Car Toys has 50 retail locations (Source:

But when it comes to shopping experience the sites could not be more divergent.

Product features

On the Car Toys site the product is described in an unorganized list:


The Crutchfield site condenses the product description making it more useful and easy to read:


Voice of experts

Car Toys offers none – take it or leave it attitude
Crutchfield presents a report by their field research team. Here is a snippet:



Car Toys offers none
Crutchfield offers 10 customer reviews. Deservedly, all 10 reviewers gave the product 5 out of 5.

Leaning center

Once again this segment only exists at the Crutchfield site. Leaning center is extremely useful for non-experts and early stage shoppers. It also serves as a huge brand differentiator.

Installation videocrutchfield-leaning-center.png

Crutchfield has one, Car Toys does not.

Crutchfield installation video…

Matching product with car model

Car stereos need to be compatible with the buyer’s car. Crutchfield tells you exactly which models comply. However, from a usability standpoint this interface could be improved. Customers should be encouraged to view compatibility before continuing to checkout.

Please select your car.png

Related post: Do Product Images/Content Impact Site Visits?

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