Philips improves its global gateway

I was happy to see that Philips launched a new (and improved) global gateway recently.

Below is a screen grab of the old gateway, as seen on the home page:

The menu was well positioned  in the upper right corner, but it was a LONG menu.

And the use of flags was problematic for many reasons, such as adding a great deal of overhead to every single web page.  (Here are a few previous thoughts on flags)

Now, here is the header from new Philips home page with new gateway:

No more pull-down menu — just a simple text link: United States – English.

Click on the link and you are taken to a new menu – notice the absence of flags:

Overall, a very nice improvement!

One recommendation: I would still like to see a globe icon positioned next to that global gateway link in the header. The icon communicates “global gateway” to users regardless of their native language.

To illustrate the value of the icon, here is the header from Philips Japan. Imagine you don’t understand Japanese and you want to navigate to a different local site; would you know that the link in the upper right corner is your way out?

Nevertheless, Philips has taken huge strides forward in improving its global gateway. (This will be reflected in the next Report Card.)

PS: Speaking of global gateway, there are still a few copies left of The Art of the Global Gateway (now on sale).



Philips CEO on expanding globally

Last week I said I’d love to see more profiles of global-minded business execs and, sure enough, the Journal delivers.

Here’s an interview with the Philips Electronics CEO Gerard Kleisterlee.

According to the article, the company’s emerging-market sales increased 29% in the second quarter from a year earlier and now make up 34% of the company’s total sales. And it’s just getting started.

Some choice quotes from the interview:

The rush to emerging markets is there already for the last 10 years. What you have started to see is that, in many of these emerging markets, now you get growing local [Chinese] competitors who become either regional or aspiring global competitors.

It does not suffice to serve only the metropolitan areas. In India and in China you need to have good rural distribution.

For the emerging markets we have even more local responsibility. In general we try to push responsibility down in the organization and have everything necessary centralized. But for emerging markets we have done that even more than for the developed markets.

The Philips global web site finished in 4th place overall in the 2010 Web Globalization Report Card. Decentralization of control is a key ingredient of successful local web sites, particularly in emerging markets.