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Ask HN: What sucks about online shopping?
1 point by photon_off 2331 days ago | hide | past | web | 6 comments | favorite
I'm thinking of creating a product finder website, but first would like to know what pain points people typically encounter when trying to find the right product.

An example use case might be: You want to buy GPS for your car. How do you go about choosing the "best" one, and how would you improve this?

Personally, I find myself being very thorough. I won't purchase until I'm sure I've found a quality item with great value. So, I'll first determine what the price range for items are, and what features are generally included in those price ranges. Then, I'll decide (a personal decision) of what features I'm willing to pay for. Then, finally, I'll narrow things down to the best reviewed items that are within a price range that have those features. Often this is a lengthy process.

What pain points do you feel when you shop for products, and how would you like them fixed?

Living in non-USA (Canada) what sucks about online shopping is having stuff shipped across the border, paying duty and brokerage fees, having to wait while stuff is stuck in customs. I often shop at Canadian sites (even though it costs more) or at the few sites where they actually handle the border crossing. I would love a site that would aggregate these types of sites.

- I can't see the packaging of what I'm buying. Sometimes the packaging shows a lot more information on a product than the online description. - Not enough pictures. Especially when I'm buying electronics, I need a picture of the back of the TV/monitor/pc/electronic so I can see what kind of connections it has. I want a picture of the side, front, back, top, and bottom. Why? Because when I'm at the store I can see a display model, but online I only see 1 or 2 static pictures. Store owners put products on display for a reason. If I'm going to spend money on it, you better let me see exactly what I'm getting. - Instant gratification is missing in online shopping. You buy something and then you have to wait a week or two for it. Sometimes when you expect something to come in the mail in 7 days, after the 8th day you begin to worry. And this happens often. - The insane amount of packaging and waste after I receive something in the mail. Rather than throw it all away, I stuff it in a closet somewhere hoping to reuse it. only to through it out 3 years later. I wish there were a place where people could drop off and pick up boxes and packaging. - Junk Mail and Catalogs. U-Line is notorious for this. Order 1 thing from them and you'll be bombarded with thick heavy catalogs every month or so. - Having to create an account to complete checkout. No. I don't have to do that shit when I shop at Walmart and I refuse to do it online. - Having to fill out a ton of information every time I want to checkout. - The 3-5 email confirmations and receipts that await me after checkout. There's 1 for the account confirmation, then another for the checkout confirmation, another letting me know the product has now been shipped, and a forth for the feedback/rate my product/survey email. Jesus, leave me alone.

FYI: If you put an empty line between items, they show up on new lines.

For example, "ABC\nDEF"

shows up as


and "ABC\n\nDEF"

shows up as



Use search facets for every attribute of every product. When I was shopping for a car a few years ago, I had to click 8billion ways in order to construct a shopping list based on the length of the car. This isn't the kind of thing that people can tell you when asking "how do you choose the best GPS?" It's a reason for you not to know what people want but to be able to give them the information more easily.

Put it this way, what do you mean when you say you want to be sure you've found a "quality item with great value?" If you can't explain it in terms of a few (and which) clicks to perform on Amazon, then you're asking the wrong questions.

What sucks about online shopping? The minimal amount of data entry that companies seem to think is required to have a good online shop.

You should have a look at http://www.hidentify.com/ and how they are tackling this market, its pretty cool.

Searching for "plasma dlna" returned nothing.

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