What's the best online store, bar none?
November 1, 2005 3:31 PM   Subscribe

What's the sexiest, most cutting edge, most user-friendly and cross-compatible non-Flash online store out there? In short, which e-commerce interface gets it right?
posted by jenleigh to Computers & Internet (17 answers total)
posted by goethean at 3:33 PM on November 1, 2005

Response by poster: I should also add: cleanest & best-organized.

I don't want much do I? ;)
posted by jenleigh at 3:39 PM on November 1, 2005

I asked this recently.
posted by Leon at 3:55 PM on November 1, 2005

Amazon works only because A) been around forever, and B) started relatiely small and clean. Users learned to use the thing slowly over time, allowing them to keep up with the bloat. If you were to out-of-the-blue launch that pig now people would be howling about how unusable it is.

I would never use Amazon as an example of how to design a user-friendly site.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:04 PM on November 1, 2005

Response by poster: Ack, sorry Leon. I searched for "shopping cart" instead of e-commerce.
posted by jenleigh at 4:23 PM on November 1, 2005

Best answer: The new banana republic site has tons of javascript/ajax features and it's really quite impressive. Toss a few shirts in your cart and mouse over the cart, then try a checkout. It's really slick.
posted by mathowie at 4:42 PM on November 1, 2005

Well, you haven't said if you just want to look at something pretty from one store, or if you're looking for something that you can use for your own site.

If you want something you can use for your own site -- OSCommerce is pretty much the way to go as far as shopping carts. It's not the slickest/sexiest, but it's non flash and is VERY extensible through plugins and a huge community. There's people who make a living off of just making OSCommerce plugins, or custom-modifying OSCommerce for individual stores.

If you were just looking for something neato to look at, though... ignore me :-p
posted by twiggy at 5:21 PM on November 1, 2005

Response by poster: Twiggy: both, really. I just want to see what kinds of sites strike people as being the best of their kind. OSCommerce could be useful for some projects--thanks.
posted by jenleigh at 6:21 PM on November 1, 2005

I liked the old layout of bustedtees.com. Here's the Wayback Machine archive from one day last year. I never bought anything from them, but I thought the layout was clean and straightforward, and it gave the user good assists (like easily-accessible shipping information).

As far as Amazon goes, they do some things really really well. Like their "treat yourself" block that pulls up stuff from your Wish List or from items that are associated with items you've been looking at recently. My friend was poking around Amazon the other day and he exclaimed, "How'd they do that!? I've never looked at that book before at Amazon; I just found out about it yesterday. And they're encouraging me to check it out!" Granted, their algorithms are probably pretty sophisticated. But they do that well.

Also, they give very conservative shipping arrival dates (on the free, Super Saver Shipping). This means that as I'm waiting impatiently for Madeline Peyroux and Rivers Cuomo to show up on my doorstep, I'm thinking "next time I'll pay for the upgraded shipping!"
posted by Alt F4 at 7:34 PM on November 1, 2005


It's not all that beautiful, from a layout perspective, but there's just so much information on the site. And not only that, but the recommendation engine they use probably generates a lot of sales (especially the people who bought this also bought... thing, which is part of Oscommerce)

There aren't that many online stores that I actually enjoy browsing around on. Actualy, Amazon is the only one.

Panic is a bit gimmicky, and they only have 12 products total.
posted by delmoi at 7:52 PM on November 1, 2005

Best answer: Cut + Paste is my favorite OSCommerce website. It's not the fanciest website, but it's easy to use and nice to look at.
posted by Alison at 8:03 PM on November 1, 2005

It sucks at 800x600, Alison.
posted by callmejay at 11:19 PM on November 1, 2005

McMaster Carr, hands down. It looks like a mess but it actually serves the user better than any other on-line store I've used.
posted by nicwolff at 12:09 AM on November 2, 2005

Old Navy recently relaunched with a bunch of AJAX goodness. Very slick. Doesn't work with Safari right now though...
posted by gwint at 11:05 AM on November 2, 2005

Amazon is really the best.
posted by xammerboy at 12:21 PM on November 2, 2005

I was joking when I said Amazon. Their interface is horrific IMO.
posted by goethean at 2:58 PM on November 2, 2005

It frustrates the hades out of me when huge e-commerce sites like Old Navy, Gap, and Banana Republic don't build their sites to be mac compatible. They don't work in Firefox or Safari on my mac which is ridiculous. Your site is hardly useable when you block out an entire operating system.
posted by JPigford at 4:38 PM on November 3, 2005

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