I visit LL Bean on those occasions when I just need really, really well-made clothing that’s actually meant to last outdoors. In fact, I just got two new flannel shirts for the winter, plus two camisoles. Only two, because LL Bean is sadly expensive, and even though my mom treated me, I still don’t like spending money.
So when I saw the 2 star Way Back Time Machine, I knew immediately what website I wanted to present.
SO: PRESENTING THE 1996 VERSION OF THE LL BEAN WEBSITE
Wow. Flashback to the early days of the internet. I mean, I started playing computer games in the early 2000s, and the start screens of ALL of them kind of looked like this. TBH, a lot of start screens still look like this. It’s very pretty, though, and shows you very clearly what kind of person their target demographic is. I like the link that (I guess?) shows you National Parks? Or state parks? Plus the outdoor sports tab. It’s very interested in getting you engaged in the outdoors. Ahhh, the early days of the internet and internet shopping.
Compare this to the LL Bean of today:
(Fun story, I used the website provided to find the website as it looks today. Then I realized I was an idiot; I had the website up as a separate tab from when I’d been shopping for flannels.) There’s still the effort to get you engaged in the outdoors as well as spending money– look at the “Outdoor Schools” tab on the far right. Lessons are surprisingly cheap (still, 25$ is a lot of money for a broke college kid like myself, plus they’re not exactly accessible to someone without a car). However, the Parks tab has disappeared, and there’s definitely more emphasis on shopping. Also, with the advent of clearer photography, people now expect defined photos on websites, not slightly blurry watercolors. That gorgeous scenery in the background says that LL Bean isn’t just selling you clothing; they’re selling you experiences in nature.
The website they gave you to look up the archived website was fantastically easy to use; you just put the url from the current site into the search bar and it brings it right up. It also says at the top what the earliest date is that they have an image for. I clicked on that and the 1996 site came right up. Then I just took a screenshot and cropped it in paint. Same for the modern site. The effort from production is worth one star; it’s the thinking about what the sites say that gives it the next star.