5 e-commerce Pet Peeves

I'm watching my wife try to by shoes (the name of which shall remain nameless) online.  It's led me to rant about a few of my pet peeves about shopping on-line:

1. Don't force me to create an account at your Web site just to buy something.  If I walk into your store, I can just give cash and leave.  Give me as close to that shopping experience as possisble on your web site, too.  Which brings me to #2 ...

2. If you're going to ask me to create an account, do so after I've provided you with all of the information you need to create the account.  While the amount of work on my part is probably the same, at least I don't feel like you've forced me to have an account at your site.  If we're going to do business just this one time, I don't want to create an account hanging out there in Internet la la land.  Which brings me to #3 ...

3. I prefer that you'd use my e-mail address as the unique identifier for my account (I'm sure there are many out there who wish you wouldn't, but I for one, do.)  Why?  Because I don't want to have to remember some whacky username I chose to uniquely identify myself at your site because my preferred username is already taken.  Which brings me to #4 ...

4. Use Microsoft Passport, and use it well.  After all, it'll be based upon my e-mail address and I've already told you I think that's a good idea.  Sure, I work for Microsoft but I don't mean this to be a biased statement.  Unfortuantely, there are few sites that use Passport and fewer that do it right.  The ones that do really create a wonderful shopping experience.  I've got everything you need to transact business with me in my Passport.  Enable me to sign in with my existing Passport and  then let me just hand you the info you need out of my Passport Wallet.  Which brings me to #5 ...

5. Provide easy and clear options for gathering my vital information, such as billing and shipping information.  Futhermore, make sure I can easily copy my billing information to my shipping information (or visa versa.)  Don't bury the options where they may not appear readily on screen, and certainly don't ever force me to enter the same information twice.

Maybe these ideas will catch on.  Maybe they won't.  But I do know if it was easier, my wife would shop online more.

Comments (6)

  1. Kishor Gurtu says:

    It would help if Passport didn’t cost $10,000 per website per year.

  2. Jack Mayhoff [MSFT] says:

    Use passport and I shop elsewhere.

    No sign on , not nada. I can use http://www.komplett.se and buy things with my hotmail or ANY email and NOTHING ELSE.

    No credit card, no nothing

    Just send to an address and I pay on collection at the post office.

    Some even allow me to pay with my mobile phone.

    You are in the DARK AGES. I bet you still use pagers 😀

    If I need a credit card to buy online, forget it I shop elsewhere.

  3. Mun says:

    Interesting post. I’m not a huge fan of Microsoft Passport (maybe it’s used more by E-Commerce sites in the US), though all the others are common problems. Like yourself and millions of others, I’m also sick of having to create an account with yet another site to buy something, so they can make their customer database bigger and send me spam to buy more stuff from them!

    Nowadays, if the websit requires me to create an account, I just buy it somewhere that doesn’t, even if it means buying it offline 🙂

  4. David McCormick says:


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