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Commonwealth.Net

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We are looking to change our e-commerce software on our site, www.commonwealth.net/rocketstore/

There are 100's of systems to purchase, what carts do you like to use?
Please include the URL.

What features do you like a cart to have?

Perhaps you can rate a few sites from 1 to 10, not for product but for the total e-commerce experience, i.e. ease to shop and check out.

Your input will help us to choose new e-commerce software for our site.
 
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Peartree

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I can't say that I use any ecommerce site often enough to choose (or remember) specifically. I do however prefer a shopping cart that opens as a separate tab/window and stays open and updates as I add to the cart. Having to add items to a cart and then navigate back to where I was shopping and then back to the cart and then back to shopping, etc. is highly annoying and results in me buying fewer items.

I also like shopping carts that allow me to save the contents without checking out for a period of time and even (as Amazon does) provide space for a "wish list" that can stay long-term until I choose to move it to my cart. I use this feature at Amazon for books that friends recommend or things that interest me and then I don't have to keep track of multiple pieces of paper where I scribbled notes. I've had classmates who had laptops in class and as professors recommended books, simply added them to their wish list instead of keeping track of class handouts/notes/syllabi. This greatly increases the probability that I will buy this book from Amazon later instead of someone else. In Rocketry, this would essentially be aplace where I could generate a rocket "shopping list" until I a) had enough cash or b) had a large enough list to get free shipping, etc.
 

Luv2launch

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I like any cart that will save an order if I shutdown my browser and come back to the site, I like to ponder orders for a couple days before I place them.
 

Gus

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Steve,

Very interesting idea for a topic.

Your situation is different from many of our vendor friends in that your inventory is so large. Websites that would work for a number of the smaller vendors would not be adequate for your needs.

I actually like your current format, not at all flashy, but very easy to navigate once you are familiar with the site. And your huge comprehensive inventory makes it a great one-stop-shop for most items. I use your site all the time as a reference source so I hope your new site will be as easy to navigate.

As for current good examples, I think the best rocketry retailing website currently operating is Apogee's, which manages a huge amount of information and products in a very easy to navigate format. Their inventory indicators seem to always be up-to-date, and the e-commerce stuff all seems to work flawlessly. I have no idea what product they use but their site would be a good example to emulate.
 

Indiana

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It's not a rocket site, but I consider digikey.com to be the easiest to use site there is. If the results page on digikey had picures, it would be perfect.
 

JAL3

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To me, an important thing is what not to have: a voice that pops out unexpectedly with a commercial.

SHE WHO MUST BE OBEYED is a light sleeper and tends to not like it when I wake her up with late night browsing of the web.
 

madsen

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SHE WHO MUST BE OBEYED is a light sleeper and tends to not like it when I wake her up with late night browsing of the web.
Have you ever considered marriage lessons? I would be happy to help you--unless you are beyond salvation. The secret is "never say that you are sorry--or wrong". That has worked for me for 37 years--it can work for you. Of course, you had better get a comfortable couch.
 

JAL3

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Have you ever considered marriage lessons? I would be happy to help you--unless you are beyond salvation. The secret is "never say that you are sorry--or wrong". That has worked for me for 37 years--it can work for you. Of course, you had better get a comfortable couch.
Mostly I just beg. It saves time later.:rolleyes:
 

Trident

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To me, an important thing is what not to have: a voice that pops out unexpectedly with a commercial.

SHE WHO MUST BE OBEYED is a light sleeper and tends to not like it when I wake her up with late night browsing of the web.
Well, you need a fancier keyboard -- one with a MUTE button. And memorize its location in case you forget to mute your PC prior to browsing the web.

I have an older Microsoft keyboard that has a great key -- actually a dual key. Left and right motions, marked "application". The default use allows you to scroll backward and forward thru open application windows. I set the left arrow to "Show Desktop" app, which minimizes all windows. It is a great way to shut down all windows you may want to hide, like that shopping cart, as your wife strolls by ...
 

matthew

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I haven't any trouble using your site as it is. What problems are you trying to fix?
 

WiK

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One thing I really hate about some of the ecommerce systems out there, is that they don't tell you what the shipping charges will be until you've already entered a bunch of info. I don't want create an account on a webstore just so I can see how much a certain order is going to cost to ship! I've even seen a couple of really bad ones which don't tell you the total cost until *after* you've entered your credit card details. :eek:

Phil
 

Peartree

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One thing I really hate about some of the ecommerce systems out there, is that they don't tell you what the shipping charges will be until you've already entered a bunch of info. I don't want create an account on a webstore just so I can see how much a certain order is going to cost to ship! I've even seen a couple of really bad ones which don't tell you the total cost until *after* you've entered your credit card details. :eek:

Phil
AMEN!

I often compare two or three vendors with my entire shopping list to see whose overall price comes out lowest for that particular order. I can do this on scratch paper or on a spreadsheet and I hate it when I have to manually enter all of my items in a shopping cart before I can get shipping costs.

Shipping should be available with one click from the main page. If you calculate shipping by weight or something besides total $$$, then give me a way up front to approximate.
 

Fade_to_Black

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AMEN!

I often compare two or three vendors with my entire shopping list to see whose overall price comes out lowest for that particular order. I can do this on scratch paper or on a spreadsheet and I hate it when I have to manually enter all of my items in a shopping cart before I can get shipping costs.

Shipping should be available with one click from the main page. If you calculate shipping by weight or something besides total $$$, then give me a way up front to approximate.
Hmmmm.... You make a good point here. My PayPal shopping cart figures shipping based on weight and region, but doesn't add it till the end. I'll need to update my site with a shipping weight/regional fees chart and add shipping weights to the items on the pages. Thanks for the advice!!!

Fred Ziegler TRA 10151 L2
Fade to Black Rocket Works
Oregon, Ohio
http://www.ftbrocketworks.com
 

AndyC

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Steve,
I'd agree with others that I find your current site quite nice to use. Easy to navigate, organized by both vendor and product type, current stock status, and a persistent shopping cart without pushing any "save" buttons. I can't tell you how much I like that feature. I sometimes mull over purchases on your site for days or weeks - once I put stuff in the cart, it stays there. Fabulous.

I'd agree too that adding an estimate of shipping to the cart page would be great, with an option to enter a zip and get a real number.

Another thing I'd like is a good search facility. If I search for "nomex" for example, it should return a list of items from all categories that is easy to understand. Each item, or group of items would have links back to the pages where those items are normally found. Be nice if in the search results, items are listed in groups that correspond to the categories they came from - ie/ don't mix up nomex shock cord protectors with parachute protectors.

I also like your "Info" buttons, that provide pictures and often additional MFR info. Since you list so much stuff, I like the fact that you don't show thumbnail pictures next to each item - that would make the pages way too long (and probably slower to load for some).

Cheers!
 

skip_dye

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My other hobby is photography. I buy almost all my gear from B&H Photo.

http://www.bhphotovideo.com

The Wish List feature is really neat. I can make my Wish List public so anyone (like my wife) can see what I need/want. It makes gift buying so much better for the both of us.

Alan
 

DMcCauley

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I can tell you from my experience, the NUMBER 1 thing i look for in a website is what the status of the present stock is and whether a particular item is available.

This is probably my number one criteria when i purchase rocketry stuff online.
 

Commonwealth.Net

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Thanks for the input, it is great!

We are changing our system because Google will not index our products and there is no search function on our current cart.

There are great carts out there that cost more than we make on rocketry!
So we have to pick one that is Not Great but Better!

What we are looking at would have a Search Function, shipping still would not show up until the check out process. HAZ - Mat shipping that is automatic on our cart would now be manual, i.e. you willl have to choose
special shipping as a product.

We would also have cross sell and up sell features we do not have now.

I am not sure about starting an order and finishing later.

I have heard that some people can not figure our how to use our current cart, i.e. some can find no details, so they could NOT figure out the INFO Button.

I hope they cart we are looking at will be better for most if not all users.
Please leave any additional comments - the one so far have been very good.
 

ttabbal

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Go play with the ones on Newegg.com and Amazon. They have some nice features. Newegg is fun because you can create multipule wish lists that you can decide to share if you like. So you can give someone a list of parts you used to build your computer, for example. Or you can put some stuff in there, think about it, add or remove various things, add it all to the cart and pay.

Critical features are ease of use and easy to get info. The shipping example is a good one. That should be updated when I add things to the cart if you know my ZIP. I shouldn't have to create an account for this, just had an entry field where I can enter my ZIP and a button to submit it. Accounts are nice, but if I'm just looking around a little, I want to be able to see the whole price, including shipping.

Another nice plus is the ability to go into my order history. So I can think "hey, I ordered a nice parachute from commonwealth a while back, I want another one" and just go find it. Of course, an account would be required for this sort of thing. For the paranoid, a button to erase all that data would probably be welcomed, but I don't see the point personally.
 

jadebox

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What we are looking at would have a Search Function, shipping still would not show up until the check out process. HAZ - Mat shipping that is automatic on our cart would now be manual, i.e. you willl have to choose special shipping as a product.
You might look at using an open-source shopping cart package or, at least, one that includes the source code. That way you could modify it to automatically handle HAZMAT and whatever else you'd like. If you don't have the skills to modify the program, you can find a developer locally. I'm not sure how much work it would be to automate the HAZMAT charge and display an estimated shipping cost, but I doubt it would be too difficult. You might be able to find a college kid to do the work for peanuts (well, not literally for peanuts - you might have to supply beer, also).

What I'd like to see in a shopping site echoes most of the things already said.

Personally, I think Discount Rocketry's site is an example of a well-designed shopping site. It is well-organized and attractive (though it could use a minor face-lift). The information on what's in stock or not is clear and accurate. The shopping cart is easy to use and the items in your shopping cart are listed on the page as you shop. Estimated shipping is also displayed. Checkout is smooth. Paypal is cleanly integrated as an option for payment. And, you receive email confirmation of your order as well as emails each time the status of your order changes.

-- Roger
 
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mperdue

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One thing I really hate about some of the ecommerce systems out there, is that they don't tell you what the shipping charges will be until you've already entered a bunch of info. I don't want create an account on a webstore just so I can see how much a certain order is going to cost to ship! I've even seen a couple of really bad ones which don't tell you the total cost until *after* you've entered your credit card details. :eek:

Phil
I agree with you that you need to know the shipping before you enter your credit card information but many times you can't calculate shipping until you have the full order. Some things can be combined for a lower shipping rate and some things can't. Often the first item costs more than the second item of the same type because they can be shipped in a single container.

Just my 2 cents

Mario
 

jadebox

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I agree with you that you need to know the shipping before you enter your credit card information but many times you can't calculate shipping until you have the full order. Some things can be combined for a lower shipping rate and some things can't. Often the first item costs more than the second item of the same type because they can be shipped in a single container.
That's true. But an "estimated" shipping cost is still nice to see while shopping. I think most shoppers understand that the actual cost may differ.

-- Roger
 

mr.T

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I agree with others here that being able to see the shipping before entering registration information is a must for me. There are too many sites out there that offer great prices but then overcharge for shipping to compensate. I wont order from a site that doesnt give me the shipping up front. Thats one thing that I like about brshobbies. I know that shipping will either be 5 bucks or free as stated on their site. I also like to see pictures of items when I'm shopping. I know they are not the most loved vendor on this forum but I really like the hobbylinc site. The search works well, the price is calculated automatically, there is alot of information given on all of the products, and they state the inventory. It is the amazon.com of hobbies.
 

Peartree

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I was just shopping on Christian Book Distributors (CBD.com) today. I have an account so I'm not sure how it works if you don't but I can browse the catalog, enter special codes from printed catalogs, drop anything in my shopping cart, adjust the quantity desired, the resume shopping button takes me right back to where I came from, and anything I decide not to buy today can be dropped in my wishlist for purchase later. Not everything I'd like but pretty close. Also, every item told me if it was in stock, or when it was expected to ship if back ordered.
 

Pippen

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Land's End comes to mind. They feature the item well (large print, lots of white space) and handle the various options in a way that's not confusing. It's easy to go back and forth from the shopping cart to shopping, and making changes is easy.
 
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