What makes a great Ecommerce Website?
Being a website infrastructure project manager and designer I am always facinated by the ecommerce sites I visit when shopping. Of course I understand that many of the smaller sites are very limited by the shopping cart functionality, I am still amazed that so little effort is actually put into these sites. So many times I can barely idenitfy the product by the photos.
In other cases there is not even a product description to help me make my purchase. I often have to checkout over and over again to ship to more than one address. But even more frustrating is the lack of a phone number or at least some attempt to anticipate my questions by answering them in the FAQs.
Finally, I end up leaving lots of sites in the middle of checking out when I learn that shipping is marked up by ten bucks. Even worse, is where shipping is based on the price of the item so that an expensive item that weighs an ounce but costs $500, runs $50 to ship. Excuse me for dissing my own kind but only a very lazy techie or a big headed accountant would think that makes any sense. In some cases, these are multi-million dollar websites.
To move to a more positive tone, I have found a few sites I really like. My favorite clothing shopping site is Lands End. Actually I would give my right hand to work for that company. They know what they are doing when it comes to conversion and giving the customer what they want. The product pages are fantastic. Instead of opting for fancy graphics and layout, they provide the information in a much better than catalog format.
For gift shopping, I recently found Arttowngifts.com,a gift site that I love. What I like about this site is that it is a one stop gift shopping site. Here I can select a gift as simple as a great corporate gift basket or a unique gift item such as gold roses which are real roses dipped in gold. Here you find much higher quality gift selection for much more affordable prices than at Red Envelop including those memorable personalized gifts. Plus they also have a complete art department for original art, fine art prints and home furnishings much like Guild. Finally, they even offer same day gift delivery like many of the florist sites.
I am on the lookout for more great sites. Keep posted for more…