Time-based information

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On Thanksgiving, the only reason someone would possibly visit your grocery store’s Web site is to find out what your holiday hours are. And yet most local grocery store Web sites I’ve looked at aren’t promoting their holiday hours at all. They have regular store hours listed for each store, but no holiday hours at all.

Grocery stores and other businesses find their holiday hours important enough to have signs made up and posted at all the entrances. Posting a virtual sign on their site with holiday hours makes a lot of sense.

A good practice for Web sites is to highlight time-sensitive information. The tasks users are trying to complete often change depending on the dates and times they are accessing your site. Help them by putting the information they need right at their fingertips.

Joost Schuur
November 25, 2004 4:34 PM

It's not just grocery stores. I ran into the exact same problem a few hours ago, wondering if the local Barnes & Noble was open past noon. I'm still wondering.

December 8, 2004 10:34 AM

I disagree. Arn't there way too many Safeway's to be able to keep track of all their hours? Arn't most of them locally owned and operated?

David Locke
June 9, 2005 8:20 AM

Even stores that make up grocery chain don't all have the same hours. A given location has a certain time-determined design that limits its throughput and inventory. The cores are invariant, but everything else changes from location to location and with micro-merchandizing tuning stores tend to diverge. They are also hiearchical. The bigger stores stay open all night. The neigborhood store closes at eleven. Grocery stores might not be a good example, because they won't necessarily extend their hours during the holidays, and for some holidays its buisness as usual except for sesonal stock and seasonal promos. Safeway is a chain, but your relationship with Safeway will be with one to three stores. The rest of the stores will be exceptions, outliers, that you use when you do something different. Chains tend to squeeze out independents, because independents don't have any buying power and end up having higher prices. Chains are not usually locally owed. Promotions are usually time limited. So if you use a landing page as the target of your Promo SEM, you need to mind your timeframes and at least say when promo ends. Once it ends you need to get your page out of the search engine database if that's even possible, and tell anyone that linked to you, that the link has expired. And, then, you have to put up a redirect, if you intend to keep your relationship with that customer.

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