Friday, November 30, 2007

Can I just say these people still don't understand e-commerce

Well it is coming up to Christmas time and the "easiest" way to go shopping is the via the net right? Let me just show you how even big suppliers don't understand e-commerce.

Firstly, I wanted to buy some DVD's and CD's from a major retail chain. I login with my credentials so it knows who I am and records my purchases. Nowhere can I see how many "bonus points" I have with this supplier on the page, which would be nice. So I select what I'm after, add it to my shopping cart and then head to the checkout. After putting my credit card details in I'm now taken to "Verified by Visa". Here I have to put in a "Verified by Visa" password that I have no idea what it is. Sure I set it up but this is the only site that I've seen that uses "Verified by Visa". Not having my password means that I am unable to complete my purchase. So I request my password (which terminates the checkout process anyway). I have to wait a few minutes and check my email for the details, then I go back in and re-order everything, put in my 'Verified by Visa' password and complete the transaction (and only get shown my bonus credits at checkout). When I receive a confirmation of my purchase on the web site I also receive an unknown pop-up that gets blocked by my browser. Hmmm... I wonder what the pop up says and if it is important? I take a screen shot of my completed transaction details because I know what is about to happen next. I enable pop ups in the browser so I can see what the message and is and surprise, surprise my completed transaction details have disappeared from the original browser window because the window was reset when I enabled the pop up.

Issues :

1. Why, oh why do I have to jump so many hurdles to give you people my money? Why, oh why can't I check my 'Verified by Visa' password BEFORE I have to enter it? Why, oh why can't I elect to not use 'Verified by Visa' if I so desire? Sure there is security risk but I just want to pay my money and get out. Dumb.

2. Why is the site using pop ups? Geeze fellas these things went out with Internet Explorer 4.0. The only things that use pop ups these days are annoying ads and spyware. Every browser these days blocks pop ups by default so everyone is going to have the same problem of losing their transaction info if they view the pop up. Was there are warning prior to processing that I should enable pop ups? No. Dumber.

Next, I went to purchase some books. I locate the first book I want and add it to my basket which conveniently displays. Ok boys, now how the hell do I get back and make more purchases? I scout around the page and see no indication of a return link. So where's the encouragement for me to buy more? Finally I find that if I click on the company's logo in the top left of the screen I go back to the main site. Hmmm...my basket now shows that it has 0 items. I click back on my basket and find that it does in fact still have my initial item. I again return to the main page and make more purchases. When complete I proceed to the checkout where I am asked for my loyalty card number. Yes, I do have one of those. I enter the number and it says "invalid number or password". Hmmmm.... ok I'll request my password (again) and guess what it was correct! So what's the problem here? After much stuffing around I work out that the number I need to enter must not include any dashes ('-'), I must just type the number in straight. Where the hell did it tell me that? Bloody hell I just wasted 5 minutes trying to working out what I was doing wrong when all you needed to do was tell me that I should only use the numbers on my loyalty card. Mr(s) supplier, you have either just wasted my valuable time and gotten pissed me off or I have wasted time I could have spent shopping for more product on your site.

Issues:

1. Navigation. Has anyone else except the snow boarding web designers and poor suffering customers ever looked at the shopping basket page? Clearly not, since it must be so bloody obvious to press the logo in the top left of the screen to return to the main page to purchase more (Yeah right).

2. If you give me a card with a number separated by dashes I am going to assume that when I'm asked for that number you want it exactly how it is printed (ie with the dashes). If not, then pay me the courtesy of telling me this rather than wasting my time and pissing me right off. Dumbest.

In the end, sure I made my purchases and sure maybe I should be more forgiving but take a look at the check process differences between US and Australian sites. The big US sites really make it easy and want me back, these Australian sites just piss me off so I would rather go into the store. C'mon guys get the fundamentals right. Set you sites up to make it EASY for the customer to buy, stop putting all these barriers up. You complain about the lack on online sales but have you EVER looked at the check out process through the eyes of real consumer? I doubt it, I doubt it and that is plain stupid.