Bing has an awful user experience for shopping

Disclaimer: these opinions are mine, and have nothing to do with the company I work for.

I work at PriceGrabber.com, so when I saw in the videos describing Bing (check around 1:10 in the video) that it would offer improved shopping I was curious. Bing launched today. Here’s what I saw:

I searched for “ipod touch.” I then clicked on “Shop for ipod touch.” The first result returned for that is “Apple iPod 80GB Digital Multimedia Devide” — i.e. not an iPod Touch. Of the five entries returned, only three were for the iPod Touch. There was also a listing for a used 20GB iPod Photo — how old are those?

Clicking on the second entry, which is an iPod Touch, displays the interstitial page describing the discount. At this point, I have to ask: the entries, which look exactly like search results, direct link to the merchants? I didn’t expect that at all. I wonder whether the merchants get charged on the way to the interstitial, or from the interstitial to the actual merchant site.

The interstitial is bad as well. It gives instructions, but not clearly. It starts off with large type that says:

Get 3.5 – 4.5% cashback savings from Bing after you make a purchase at Digital Foto Club. Start by entering your email address.

Then in smaller print it says, “Next, click Go To Store…” There’s just one problem: there is no “Go To Store.” There is a button, which says “shop and get cashback” (capitalization and cashback as they wrote it) and a link, which says “No thanks. I don’t want cashback, take me to the store.” Is it so hard to make two pieces of text on the same web page read the same?

Finally, there is the fact that Bing’s price displays deduct the cash back offer from the merchant’s actual price. So for example, something that displays for $337 on Bing will show on the merchant’s site for $351.94. It might be technically accurate (assuming the cash back works and I take advantage of it) but it’s a bad user experience.

For products where they’ve managed to put together multiple offers into one display, the result is more like you would expect: a grid of offers with tabs to display “user reviews, product details, expert reviews, and compare prices.” The capitalization is theirs — I guess they like e.e. cummings.

The first problem with the display is that the offers aren’t all for the product displayed. In the example I tried, the product displayed was a camera with a lens, but most of the offers were just for the camera body, no lens.

Another problem there is that when I clicked on “expert reviews” I got user reviews. At least that’s what the heading said. When I clicked on “user reviews” I got a different display, also headed “user reviews.”

Finally, one funny bit: I searched for “digital camera” in the shopping section. One of the brands listed in the filter was “Fleet Laxative.” Anyone who’s had abdominal surgery knows that Fleet Laxative isn’t a camera brand! Clicking the “Fleet Laxative” brand filter changes the display from digital cameras to screen protectors for cell phones.

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One thought on “Bing has an awful user experience for shopping

  1. Pingback: Bing, Wolfram Alpha, Google Squared, and Google Wave reviewed « Geoff Canyon’s Appeal to Authority

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