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Web Site Quality
It's hard to believe that the Web has only been commonly used for about five years. Since that time it has grown from a curiosity shared by technocrats to an essential part of the business world. At first, most companies put up web sites just to "establish an Internet presence". Today, many companies do all (or most) of their business online, making their web sites of great importance.
When you use an online vendor you will in fact rely on their web site to provide most of the information needed for your order: product and pricing information, stock status, company policies, customer service, order tracking and more. How well the company implements their site will have a direct impact on your experience ordering from that company. A vendor that has a web site that is of poor quality, or that is difficult to use, or that is frequently down, may be one that you will wish to avoid even if it is great in other respects.
Here are some of the different quality attributes you will want to look for in a web site.
There's more, but that's probably enough. :^)
Evaluating web sites is best done by using them. You will be able to tell quickly if a given site meets your needs or if it does not. Also compare web sites of different vendors against each other to see how useful they are, and look for comments on web sites when doing your vendor research.
Note: There are some
companies that have very limited web sites, but that make up for it in other ways. For
example, if the company has truly excellent phone or email support, and good salespeople,
this can compensate for a limited web site in most ways. However, it won't make
independent shopping any easier.
Next: Privacy and Security