How important are websites to high end hifi companies?

The new Naim website less than stellar release got me to thinking about the importance of having a top-notch website for high-end audio, so I looked at the websites of the other two brands I own, Auralic and chord

The chord one has problems with text being truncated on my iPhone, and the Auralic has, after reviews of the Aries G2 .2 festooned on their front page links, to its predecessor, which is no longer available.

Have forums and video reviews etc. become the main important selling arena for hi-fi that companies can afford to be lazy if not downright shoddy with their websites?

Or is it just a general modern phenomenon, where if I looked at the websites of a major manufacturing or retail company that I knew a lot about the products being sold that I would see similar errors and missteps?


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Maybe the hateful Facebook has taken over? (I don’t use it other than to access certain local things only on it, so I don’t know, but it is not a decent substitute for a proper website.) I’ve never yet seen a hifi website anywhere near as bad as the initial version of the new Naim one.

However, Chord’s isn’t bad, even if not perfect, while ATC, PMC and Bryston have decent websites which are stacked with information and are easy to navigate.


The “Our Stores” postcode search does not work!

Generally not very good website.

This is where the digital marketing brigade earn their corn, obviously a relatively new facet of marketing, where data gathering & research is undertaken so as to rationalise the most effective ‘bang for buck’ spend to garner awareness and drive purchases. And much of this is hidden from view of the layman, with things like Facebook links et al being used. On top of the pure purchasing drivers, sits ‘brand awareness’ – and it’s the latter where I’d expect a website to identify:

1- who we are – inc. some self-promotion around the brand
2- what do we do/produce – all the salients.
3- where can I buy it (view/inspect/discuss et al).
4- aftercare & support

To me, simple is good here – you need to hook the potential buyer and reel them in. An overly complex website with too many irrelevant images (however conceptual they may be), isn’t what I’m after in my 1-4 list.


In 2019, maybe late 2018, F and N (probably just F) brought in someone who’s title was something like “head of digital marketing” at the group level, across both F and N.
I didn’t see anything that I could directly attribute to that person.
I was expecting a new website but nothing happened.
So someone thought it was important.

Probably doing this person a disservice - still there apparently.

I think a website is essential these days for all companies. I haven’t looked in detail at the new Naim offering yet. What I do hope is that the website team and marketing department did get a senior technical person to proofread the final text. On FB, the person or people writing the copy there often make some glaring mistakes and sometimes make factually incorrect claims. That being said, I thought the new site did look a lot better, not to my taste but I am probably not in the demographic it is aimed at. I hope it works for Naim and Focal.


I find with the new website the initial experience puts you off exploring what’s on offer.
Thought it might have been because I was looking on my phone, however, switching to my laptop didn’t improve the experience for me. Glad I’m not in the market for anything to be honest, so I don’t have to read it.

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Really depends on the digital literacy of the site owner. There are many business models which work outside of the internet but obviously they get less oxygen so the perception you can only succeed by being online is reinforced.

There is a sense some manufacturers and indeed dealers embrace having a site because they feel they ought to despite not knowing thw advtanages and disadvantages. It really shows. Others meanwhile grab the opportunity with both hands and improve their brand reputation and customer service in consequence.

If I had come across my dealers web site before I spoke to him I wouldn’t have been impressed. It looks superficially okay but as soon as you dig for the actual product range and prices it looks superficial and all image, which isthe exact opposite of the dealer.

There has been an explosion of new high end brands recently from all corners of the globe.
Having spent a little time looking up home websites from some fresh unknowns, there is a general theme of a tantalising “less is more” approach.

Certainly where my mind is on this – KISS in action. It’s like being given a big glossy mag as a brief, when a one-pager would do i.e. stick to the essentials, which must be cheaper in the long run?

As a professional photographer, contributing to many top-end websites and really familiar with the syntax of Commercial websites I do question the look and feel of the new site. It looks awfully like a Proctor & Gamble or Unilever air freshener TV Ad.
Down with the kids and let’s appeal to Gen Z visual language. Hmm…
It’s a bit grim.
I hope it’s revised and the guilt of blowing all that cash on the creative soon subsides and common sense prevails.


One thing this brings home to me is the sheer complexity in ensuring the site works across different platforms/browsers/tablets/smartphones all with their own idiosyncrasies.

Yes, it should be part and parcel of evaluation/testing but resources may be limited.

Not that keen on a lot of the design due to cropped product images and so forth, but it may add a simplicity that newer customers will appreciate.

Unfortunately, unlike the previous Naim site, I think we lose scale and finesse of products in favour of simplification.

As much as the old site wasn’t perfect, you knew from the style and imagery (including interactive images showing the product internals) that it was niche and high-end.

The simplification probably just makes it look like any online retailer and doesn’t actually promote the brand itself. You’d not be surprised to see links to products from other vendors.

Hard to distill/describe but the bespoke/special nature of the products has not been capitalised upon.

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Agreed, dilution of the brand.

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Does anyone recall how long Naim has had a website?

I certainly don’t as once I got my active SBLs in 1997/1998 I stopped reading hi-fi mags and for a few decades just enjoyed LP12/Naim kit.

It’s really only with improved digital streaming sources that I took my head out of the sand and opted for Atom/Nova temporarily.

The Nova has been fantastic, purchased virtually on release (availability anyway), though in reality an NDX-2 would be better.

In many ways, I wonder how influential websites are for audio vs magazine/online reviews of products.

The website can tell me many things but ultimately when I was a hi-fi ‘youngster’ it was reviews and dealer demos which swayed me to purchase Naim vs other options after listening to competing products.

You cannot however minimise the satisfaction of joining a prestigious ownership club when it comes to audio - doesn’t matter if it’s entry level/midrange/extremely expensive, there’s that ultimate sense of making a good decision.

There can be no other answer to this question than the website is EXTREMELY EXTREMELY important.

As a former professional in the field here’s what I am thinking from the sidelines.

Firstly testing is poor. No matter what the back end plan for the site anything on released has to be fully tested or you place your credibility at risk. Many companies skip or undercook testing. Why? Lack of expertise, time, or money, all good business reasons.

With an established brand like Naim it’s very difficult to keep “fresh” without alienating existing customers. It’s a tough balance and the tendency is always to focus on the new markets, what your competitors are doing, where you will get incremental sales. Agencies are always wanting to push the boundaries and they are a key influencer and delivery partner. It’s no surpise that’s where Naim are taking the brand experience.

But you’ve just got to get the basics right.

I tried looking for details about the HDMI input for my Atom the other day and could I? Not easily. That’s an issue that’s been there in different forms for a few years now.

Most of the Naim devices now run software, and pretty good software IMHO.

Websites “ARE” made up of software. I do of course realise that the Naim software engineers writing the Audio code are not the same as the web designers, but this wont inspire confidence of new prospective buyers

Would you buy software off Microsoft if their web page kept crashing?

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To me the Naim website was utterly unimportant. What dragged me in was a dealer showing how a naim player opened - or better swinged. Googling about it brought me to the old forums and here I still am.


I’ve bought recent kit entirely on web information, whether reviews, customer feedback, or manufacturer web sites. It is important, more so when unlike the UK, hi end hifi dealers are few and far between.
Even in the past it was hifi magazine reviews and adverts that got me in to a dealer showroom. Much the same now with the web replacing those magazines.

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No one really wants to be greeted with “interpretive dance “when they try and find info on hi fi do they ?


Like you, the imperatives in my marketing handbooks must have been re-ordered, as websites, especially when viewed on smartphones and 'pads, should function as being tantamount to ‘elevator pitches’ (i.e. grab attention) and a ‘sales tool’ (lead someone along a path) – most certainly not fronted by writhing dancers and snazzy graphics. The base content is there, the structure and relay, and guidance for a person considering a purchase isn’t - IMHO.

Curiously to me, under Support, there is form (IIRC) which someone can fill in to request help in understanding and perhaps pursuing a product purchase – but Support is hidden away at the base of the screen.