Having acquired the rights from the administrators last week, Zavvi.co.uk’s new owners have wasted no time in relaunching it as a transactional website.

The rights to the brand, and its valuable database of customers’ purchase histories, were acquired by The Hut Group, which hopes to hang on to at least half of the 1m Zavvi customers, though I’m not sure it has gone far enough in explaining this to customers on its website. 

Zavvi homepage

The new Zavvi website will continue to sell the usual CDs, games, books and DVDs, but has now added new product categories including perfume and lingerie, which seems incongruous.

From recent news reports, many current Zavvi customers will be well aware of the problems faced by the brand and the fact that it has closed its retail stores and gone into administration, and they may well be unaware that the website has been relaunched.

Perhaps the new owners think that the best tactic is to pretend it never went away, but some customers could be reluctant to order from the site due to recent events, and may require some ressurance that is safe to place an order, so I think the fact could have been made clearer for its visitors. 

However, the Zavvi homepage, and most of the site, holds no clue that it has now under new ownership, and that it is safe to order from. The only hint comes when you select the checkout option and see this message: ‘In order to ensure that your details are secure with us, we are asking all previous zavvi customers to re-register’.

It’s early days yet, but I think The Hut Group needs to distance itself from the previous Zavvi site and make the relaunch clearer to shoppers. There are also a few usability issues which need some work, such as the need to register before the checkout, and the delivery details, as many product pages promise dispatch within 2-4 weeks, which is not good enough.

Perhaps it would have been better advised to follow the example of Woolworth’s new owners, The Shop Direct Group, which has removed the old website from the search engines and replaced it with this Woolies Blog which promotes the new site (due to be launched in June) and asks for customer feedback. It even has a Twitter account.

Whether the relaunched Woolworths will be successful remains to be seen, but customers will at least be clear that it is different from the previous incarnation.