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What makes a good online store? - Page 5

post #61 of 91
All the earlier talk of good/easy-to-use/interesting interfaces suddenly makes me want to offer my usability skills as a usability/test engineer. EDIT: And +1 to what james_timothy said. Coding is serious business.
post #62 of 91
The first thing I look for in an online store? Willingness to ship internationally. There are a surprising number of US online stores that seem to think the world stops at the boundaries of the US borders. Or, they charge exorbitant flat fees to ship overseas. They score a big fat F in my store scorebook.

B.
post #63 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by ispace View Post
There are a surprising number of US online stores that seem to think the world stops at the boundaries of the US borders. Or, they charge exorbitant flat fees to ship overseas. They score a big fat F in my store scorebook.
This is such a BS attitude. I can rattle off a list of stores from Europe and Japan that do not ship to the US. In fact, I don't know of a single Japanese store that ships to the US. I would never be so pompous to assume that it had anything to do with those people being so arrogant that they "think the world stops at their boundaries." They just have their reasons. Whether it's they're not set up to do it, they don't want to deal with the hassle of you not paying your customs fees and them being stuck with product in limbo, I assure you that it's no because all of these culturally insenstive American businessmen forgot Australia exists. Want to proxy some Herrigbone for me? They don't ship to the US.
post #64 of 91
Some non-US sites I like:

http://www.m-a-p-s.jp/SHOP/5439/5571/list.html

http://www.mizobuchi.co.jp/mls/

http://www.doo-bop.com/shopping/index.html

Basically lots of well lit pics that make the clothes look good. Also at a decent resolution to see the details.
post #65 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lysol View Post
This is such a BS attitude. I can rattle off a list of stores from Europe and Japan that do not ship to the US. In fact, I don't know of a single Japanese store that ships to the US. I would never be so pompous to assume that it had anything to do with those people being so arrogant that they "think the world stops at their boundaries." They just have their reasons. Whether it's they're not set up to do it, they don't want to deal with the hassle of you not paying your customs fees and them being stuck with product in limbo, I assure you that it's no because all of these culturally insenstive American businessmen forgot Australia exists.

Want to proxy some Herrigbone for me? They don't ship to the US.
Uh, oh! Dude just insulted America. Time to bring out the pitchforks!

Online stores that don't ship outside of their country of origin are annoying in general. I mean, you're browsing through this website and suddenly you see this suh-wheat piece of meticulously assembled fabric. You race to the BUY NOW GOD DAMNIT button and type in your details in a frenzy of keyboard mashing only to discover that your country isn't in the dropdown menu. Bummer. This is by no means a bigger problem with American online stores than it is with European.
post #66 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by obiter dictum View Post
Uh, oh! Dude just insulted America. Time to bring out the pitchforks!

Oh hush, it was a stupid statement and you know it.

post #67 of 91
In random order:

  • International shipping (preferably selectable with UPS/DHL/FedEx or priority air mail) with online tracking.
  • Choice of billing currency (i.e. USD, GBP, EUR).
  • Secure credit card transactions without the need to manually verify card ownership (i.e. via 3D Secure or PayPal).
  • Good categorization of products, making it easy to just browse around.
  • Good search feature.
  • Detailed product information (i.e. measurements, fabric type, etc.).
  • Detailed sizing guides.
  • Related products feature/people who bought this also bought ... / people who liked this also liked ... or similar
  • Good (i.e. quick) costumer support (via e-mail and possibly phone).
  • Detailed and multiple product pictures, preferably both "studio shots" and "action shots" (people actually wearing/using the items).
  • Decent processing time of orders (i.e. less than 5 days).
  • No user product "reviews". Unless you are Amazon they are completely useless, unreliable and annoying.
  • Easy and simplistic design and navigation.

If all of the above criteria is met, price is actually not that important. Usually, I will rather order something and have it on my doorstep in three days, knowing that I can track the order underway and get in touch with someone if anything turns out wrong, than save $10. I often refrain from ordering stuff from the cheapest site, simply because I don't believe them to be reliable, especially if their site looks like it was designed in 1997 and hasn't been changed since.
post #68 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lysol View Post
Go to www.oipolloi.com. Copy everything that they do. If they were based in the states, I would order from them weekly.
This reminds me, they also subtract VAT when ordering from outside UK, which is great for me, since I have to pay VAT on the actual price payed once the package arrives in Norway. I know this isn't so much an issue in the US, but when I order from international sites it makes my life easier (and the stuff I buy cheaper)
post #69 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by APK View Post
I'll actually take reasonable shipping over free shipping. When you get down to it, there really isn't such a thing as "free" shipping. Someone's paying for it. I've seen very few examples of Web sites that over free shipping and don't add that cost into the actual product. Granted, it's a pain to think you're scoring a great deal on an item, only to see those savings dashed by s/h prices tacked on at the end of the checkout prices. But the sum price generally winds up being pretty close across the board. With that in mind, the allure of free shipping in most cases isn't that great.

This reminds me of a third thing, I want to see shipping costs and total purchase cost right away. I hate it when I have to jump through fifty hoops just to find out they charge $100 to ship me a pair of socks. Some sites do this easily by allowing you to select shipping destination right there on the front page, that way the basket will always show the right (total) price.
post #70 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by RedLetterDay View Post
Anyone with any sort of knowledge of coding and the ability to use Google can set up an online store in a matter of days or maybe a week.

Yes, but you are then making at least two assumptions:

1) The person doing this will work for free.
2) The end result will be a good online store.

In my experience, both are usually false.
post #71 of 91
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by RedLetterDay View Post
Anyone with any sort of knowledge of coding and the ability to use Google can set up an online store in a matter of days or maybe a week. Or you can use one of the hundreds of websites that offer shopping cart services for anywhere between $200-$500 per year.I'm sorry but if you or someone you know spent tens of thousands of dollars for someone to design them one, they most likely got ripped off. And on the other end if your company is making so much money that this is cost isn't important, the other associated costs you listed wouldn't be either.

Maybe I mis-worded my original post and implied that it wouldn't cost anything to set it up, but for someone running a business, no, it does not cost a lot of money considering the obvious benefits.

I'll try to find some data or statistics but I would venture a guess that a company using online shopping as opposed to phone-to-order has at least twice as much profit in sales.

What are the negatives of using a shopping cart service? Does it seem more downscale? I suppose it does seem too flimsy to have to go to another interface and exit your website's shopping experience. Obviously, as some threshold it becomes impractical to use a service instead of developing something in-house, but where is that threshold?
post #72 of 91
As many people have said already, lots of high-quality photos (good lighting, model who comes close to fitting the clothes, mix of 'action' and static images, images taken from every angle) is one of the most important features for an on-line clothing store.

Actually, one thing that I've never understood is why more stores don't offer significantly larger versions of all their images (to examine details, especially important when you're talking about fabric, buttons, etc.).

Even a low-end DSLR now takes images that are much larger than needed for a medium size image at web resolution, and server space isn't as expensive as it used to be, so some of these stores must actually be going to all the trouble of taking photos only to basically get rid of data that they could fairly easily include on their web site. And please avoid those "scroll around the image to see details" apps, like the one Yoox uses. For my money, Oaknyc.com does this better than most other on-line stores: click a link, and the already good quality images become available at significantly larger sizes right on the page, one after the other. Nice and simple. Blackbird and Context also have pretty good photos, although again I'd like to be able to look at even larger versions some of the time.
post #73 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by thirdman View Post
Even a low-end DSLR now takes images that are much larger than needed for a medium size image at web resolution, and server space isn't as expensive as it used to be, so some of these stores must actually be going to all the trouble of taking photos only to basically get rid of data that they could fairly easily include on their web site. And please avoid those "scroll around the image to see details" apps, like the one Yoox uses. For my money, Oaknyc.com does this better than most other on-line stores: click a link, and the already good quality images become available at significantly larger sizes right on the page, one after the other. Nice and simple. Blackbird and Context also have pretty good photos, although again I'd like to be able to look at even larger versions some of the time.

In fact, for $24.95 you can host all your images on Flickr and automatically have it available in multiple resolutions. The image can be used just like any other image, just add a link to the Flickr page when you click on it. I wonder why not more stores do this. In fact, I don't think I have seen any stores who do. (Does Flickr have a rule against using their site for this or something?)
post #74 of 91
You are in essence doing people somewhat of a favor, you are in business obviously, but you are providing them with goods they couldn't get without a retailer. It feels better to know who you are buying from, establish a rapport with the people you are selling to. Communicate with them, don't just send out blanket 'your product shipped' emails... try to personalize each message even if minimally. Thats my $.o2
post #75 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by RedLetterDay View Post
...the actual coding on your website so that people can navigate around and add things to a shopping cart, should not cost you anything. It has been around for over a decade now and writing the code is incredibly simple.

That's ridiculous and shows that you have never actually worked on a serious software project.

The last custom eCommerce project we did came in at around 50,000 lines of code and took around 6 months to develop. Even a simple CMS which offloads all the commerce functions to Paypal comes in at around 2,000 lines/1 month, with a 30-50% time overhead for testing.

Sure there's a few open source options out there that any monkey can install on a $5/mo hosting account, but even then to respectably theme them out will take you a good few weeks if you're creating a professional grade site (which many of the open source projects simply aren't capable of). And if you get enough traffic to make you any actual income, your web host will buckle under it's knees because you cheaped out on the hosting.

Real software engineering and building websites that actual viable businesses are able to use to make money is a time consuming, complex and expensive process.

OP: Asking end-users what they like about websites is like asking surgical patients what they liked best about their recent operations. Web interfaces should be transparent to the end-user and therefore the most effective/profitable shopping carts will be the ones that people barely remember because it was so damn easy for them to put their order through. I recommend the book "Web Design for ROI" for tips on designing shopping carts.
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