Sandown races - fell at the final fence Friday, May 23, 2008
Image via WikipediaSandown Park racecourse is relatively close to where I live. So when I saw them advertising an evening race meeting, to be followed by a concert by one of my favourite 80s bands, Madness, I was keen to get tickets - a perfect summer evening out.
Sadly using their website to book tickets is an unnecessary pain and a lesson in how not to do business online.
Finding the event page was easy as well locating the big button on the page to buy tickets. Then it started to go downhill as follows
- If you wanted to buy several types of ticket [admission + carpark], then each one had to be added to the basket and submitted, whereupon the page reloaded for you to add the next item. Ok, no big deal but they could have done a single batch submit.
- At this point, I wanted to "checkout" with my items but I couldn't unless I became a registered user of the site. This was a completely separate process. It demanded more personal data than was really necessary but most notably it insisted that I create a unique user name and password before allowing me to proceed. And not just any user name and password, but one that was "secure"! For a one-off purchase this was simply unnecessary and irritating. Even if I did return, it is fairly unlikely that I or the average customer will do so regularly enough to remember these details, necessitating a loop through the user details retrieval process. Why my email address didn't suffice for a user name is beyond me.
If you want to operate an ecommerce site, make sure its easy for people to hand over the money once they've made that decision to place their trust in you - the more hurdles you make them jump, the more likely it is they will lose their confidence/patience and there will be a fall before the finishing post.