What I am saying: I saw a "sign up" form. Not very impressive, seen those about a zillion times before.
Edit: not saying you can't require users to sign up eventually, but please show me SOMETHING about what benefits to expect before I sign up.
Thanks for expressing your frustration: we need to design that part of the user experience better. Our conversion goal is getting people to sign up and submit a request. We don't want people to abandon the page because they feel tricked into signing up.
The first thing I tried was to enter something into the "shopping request" form, but I don't know yet what it is supposed to do. So I don't know that it will make people work for me, and hence I don't appreciate the sign-up form. If you require the sign-up before I can do anything meaningful, please show me what to expect in some other way (like a movie).
If I am not allowed to do something, don't show me the option to do it- please!
This is like making people show ID before they're allowed to browse the store.
The colors seem a little dull to me in this "Web 2.0" world - I think if you make the design look more lively it 'll increase the appeal of the site.
Also, are you you are allowed to use the images you are using? I have no idea what the Amazon TOS are.
This is what I could see if the images were resized before being sent to my browser:
(I resized the middle two thumbnails from the original images)
If ads and affiliates become a serious concern for our users, we'll ditch them.
Perhaps include a field where an inquirer puts a price range of what they are willing to spend (including tax and shipping) would be helpful for you to select something a gift that the person inquiring can afford.