Why are online store flyers such a mess?

22Apr10

Online store flyers drive me nuts. Instead of being a convenient way to view all the specials at once, you generally get an overly complex and frustrating hybrid of print and online media. Here are some of the issues I frequently see when flyers are presented online:

– You’re forced to view one or two pages at a time, which means you’ll be doing a lot of clicking to browse through the whole flyer.
– The pages are either too small to read, or too big to fit on a normal-sized screen.
– When there’s an option to view details about a product, the details are lacking or the product picture is useless.

Addressing each of these shortcomings would be quite easy:

– Provide an option to view all the pages at once.
– Make the pages big enough that the text is legible, but be sure the resulting images fit within a normal-sized browser window (such as 1024×768).
– If you can’t find a way to include relevant details when people click on a product (like the product’s size and weight and a clear picture of it), then don’t bother including those links in the first place.

By implementing these suggestions, retailers could make the online versions of their flyers a lot more useful to customers. Until then, I’ll continue wishing that they’d go back to a low-tech approach by just scanning all the pages from the weekly ad onto a single page of their website. Sometimes, getting rid of all the bells and whistles is a better, faster and cheaper way to give customers what they want.



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