Tags : Issues Usability

Ecommerce Sites That Suck

Tags : Issues Usability
I recently bought some LED light bulbs from an ecommerce site in the UK and had the single most painful online shopping experience of my life!
First I found the bulbs I wanted, which was a painful experience as there weren’t enough filtering or sorting options for me to easily find what I wanted, so I had to go through a hundred plus items to see what was the best option for me.
The synopsis of each product didn’t include the voltage, so I ended up adding some 110v light bulbs to my cart and didn’t realise until I double checked the order details later, so I had to go back through the 100 plus items and look at each description individually.
I then added the correct bulbs to my cart and checked out.
I opted for the PayPal checkout, to save me time, as I wouldn’t have to register. I went through the PayPal process and when I was redirected back to the site there was a generic error message to say that there’d been a problem with PayPal and could I try again.
I returned to the cart to find that, for my convenience, the site had removed all my ‘purchased’ items, even though the sale hadn’t gone through.
Of course I hadn’t made note of the product name or SKU and there was no recently viewed list, so I had to go back through the list of LED products to re-find them.
There was then another generic error message to say that there’d been ‘an issue’ with PayPal. It dawned on me that the card linked to my PayPal account had been cancelled earlier that week as there’d been some fraud on it, in the states.
Admittedly, it should have occurred to me the first time, but in fairness to me it was 7:00am and I was trying to place the order whilst looking after my somewhat cranky 20 month old son who was struggling to understand why I wasn’t giving him 100% of my attention.
If there’d been a more specific error message, it would have been obvious to me what the issue was. Maybe something along the lines of ‘There was an issue placing a charge on the card you have linked to your PayPal account’, or anything like that which specifically told me what the issue was. I’m sure PayPal would have sent the site a specific error message (something along the lines of error 123), but the site didn’t translate this for me into anything that made sense.
So having tried and failed at PayPal and knowing how painful it is to register a new card with PayPal I decided to create an account on the site and purchase through that account.
I (of course) had to re-add each of the products to the cart again and (you guessed it) I hadn’t kept a record of the individual products, so I had to go and find them all again. This time I saved the URL of each product in a notepad (just in case).
I, through the fairly painless registration process, tried to register with the site, only to be informed (at the end, not when I added an email/username) that I already had an account.  
I did the only logical thing and used the forgotten password function to reset my password. After 5 minutes I still didn’t have a password reminder email, so I repeated the process. I did this a total of 3 times, waiting between each submission for 5 minutes (when I logged in to my email the next day, there were of course 3 password reminder emails, but they were all far too late).
Having failed again and needing to feel like I’d achieved at least something after my hour long fight with the site, I decided to create a new account.
I (stupidly) created the account in the name of ‘Mike Hall’, not ‘Michael Hall’ as it appears on my credit card. When I got to the credit card page of the checkout process, the site didn’t ask me for the name on the card. For my convenience, it used my registered account name, so you guessed it the transaction failed. I logged in to the ‘profile’ and changed my name and tried again, but although the name in my profile changed, it still kept the initial name I’d set the account up with on the address page and I assume (as it didn’t tell me) that it did the same for the credit card details, so you guessed it, it failed again.
Don’t forget that each time it failed, I had to re-add each of the products to the cart again.
I managed in the end, after well over an hour to get the purchase to go through, God knows how I can’t remember now, but how frustrating!?!!
If there’d been any other site in the world I could have used, believe me I would have left this site and never returned!
Thanks Dino Direct for wasting my Sunday morning!