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T. Colledge On-line ordering site


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Date site was reviewed: 03-05-2007

 

I have today received my first order from T. Colledge & Sons, a company I haven’t used before but when they sponsored our site they also added a link to their on-line wholesalers.

 

First of all I had to await an email with my username, but once I received this it was on to ordering.

 

It has to be said that despite (sorry Rob) what on first appearances looks a bit of an amateur site this site is excellent.

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When you first log in you get a summery of your recent orders which you can click on to get an instant Invoice, Delivery note & Remittance advice

You can add items to a favourites list for fast re-ordering and there’s everything available from keys to walking sticks. All items include an image, description and price so you are 100% sure about what you are ordering.

 

One thing which I found really impressive was the speed with which the site works, pages load very quickly as the site is built with a frames system, meaning you only have to wait for the information you want to load, not an entirely new page.

 

Your order is itemised in the left hand window including all the prices and VAT, once you have finished adding items you click the Submit order button and its on its way.

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The order arrived very quickly (inside 24 hours) with all items but 2 ordered arriving. I received Emails to confirm the order was received and had been dispatched.

A favorite of my own, is when an order arrives with an invoice. You know straight away what the orders cost you and this one arrived complete with its invoice.

 

A couple of negatives

 

1. I would like to have seen my details sent on a secure connection

2. I would like to have seen a separate customer login button, or the button at the top of the menu.

3. I clicked on the home page during ordering and then couldn’t find a way back to the order I was placing with out adding another item. I would like to have seen a shopping cart button.

4. I would have liked the ability to change my user name and password once received.

5. Items on the special offers page do not have links to buy them.

 

Overall this site works & works well, it has clearly had a lot of time put into making sure it performs correctly and the points I have raise are minor and wouldn’t stop me re-ordering.

I give this a shoerepairer.info rating of: stars_4.gif

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Hi Lee

 

Thanks for the supportive review and your useful comments to which I would make a few responses.

 

Regards look and feel, then outside of the ecommerce functionality of the site, which is designed with simplicity in mind, any other individual pages are designed by Rob, usually in Microsoft word and then pasted into the content management system, hence the rustic or agricultural appearance. A crude approach but it lets relatively unskilled users produce and manage their own content.

 

Communication is not carried out over a secure connection but due to the methods by which communications are sent they are effectively encrypted and obscured.

 

To find your way back to an order you click the 'Shop' button in the top menu. We could change this to 'cart' if that would be more obvious.

 

Because shoe repairers are sensitive about who can see prices etc and that membership by email verification is always subject to either abuse, typos, spam execlusion etc, then we ruled out any automated systems for site membership and account maintenance. Hence before you are given full access to the site, Colledges will either phone you or research your company to ensure you are a bonafide customer. You can always change your login and password by arrangement with Colledges directly.

 

To buy special offers you select 'Special Offers' in the main product category drop down list. The special offer functionality was added after Rob created his special offers information page. If any special offers here are not present in the ecommerce system it is because they are assembled packs of products which could not be 'applied' as such within the logics of the ordering system and consequently these can only be ordered by phone. I suspect that Rob will remove the special offers information page eventually or at least point out how to find them within the cart system on that page.

Please bear in mind that the system has only been in operation for a few weeks now adn is still in a beta form, as such we are still reviewing performance etc for a future developmental push to address any major concerns.

 

Having said all that, our record order to date has been a business startup with 527 order detail row items - I can't think of many systems that would enable you to put together an order of such magnitude. At the end of the day its about letting people get a tedious job done with as little effort as possible. In this respect I feel Rob's site hits the spot.

 

We are currently reviewing two new additional units of functionality and would be interested in your views.

 

One would be the ability to download collated previous orders in excel spreadsheet form to assist clients with their accounts. The other would be to supply clients with hyperlinks to place on a computer in their shop which would open the colledge site and effectively re-badge it with your shop name. This would enable the client's customers to see and purchase items (possibly on approval) which may not be held in stock by the shop for whatever reason.

 

Kind Regards

 

Simon Hodges

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Hi Lee

 

hence the rustic or agricultural appearance. A crude approach but it lets relatively unskilled users produce and manage their own content.

despite (sorry Rob) what on first appearances looks a bit of an amateur site this site is excellent.
This wasn’t a criticism of the site purely an observation.

 

Hi Lee

 

Communication is not carried out over a secure connection but due to the methods by which communications are sent they are effectively encrypted and obscured.

 

Most server hosting packs include free secure links by simply changing the href= tag. and seeing that httpS give confidence to the user.

 

For example if you click this link

 

https://secure.hosts.co.uk/~shoerepaire ... _phpBB.gif

 

You open up our logo on a secure encrypted page connection, but exactly the same image can be pulled from the hosting on this link

 

http://shoerepairer.info/bb/templates/s ... _phpBB.gif

 

As no credit card or payment details are passed this is of little consequence, it was just something I noticed whilst travelling about.

 

To find your way back to an order you click the 'Shop' button in the top menu. We could change this to 'cart' if that would be more obvious.

I didn’t realise this as I had clicked on the button before I was logged in to see what it did and it sent me to this page

 

2_wp9ede0303_1.jpg

 

As apposed to this one when I just tried it whilst logged on.

 

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I personally think changing it to shop/cart would work.

 

Because shoe repairers are sensitive about who can see prices etc and that membership by email verification is always subject to either abuse, typos, spam execlusion etc, then we ruled out any automated systems for site membership and account maintenance. Hence before you are given full access to the site, Colledges will either phone you or research your company to ensure you are a bonafide customer. You can always change your login and password by arrangement with Colledges directly

I like that logic, sounds fare and square to me.

 

To buy special offers you select 'Special Offers' in the main product category drop down list. The special offer functionality was added after Rob created his special offers information page. If any special offers here are not present in the ecommerce system it is because they are assembled packs of products which could not be 'applied' as such within the logics of the ordering system and consequently these can only be ordered by phone.

 

I did notice there was an additional instructions box when finalising the order could I type any offers in here?

 

Having said all that, our record order to date has been a business startup with 527 order detail row items - I can't think of many systems that would enable you to put together an order of such magnitude. At the end of the day its about letting people get a tedious job done with as little effort as possible. In this respect I feel Rob's site hits the spot.
I agree with this, as you all know I simply love the internet. I spend fortunes with companies I’ve never even heard of simple because they offer what I want when I want it! My record week was to buy on a Wednesday (day after my half day) a Bostitch nailer, Thursday a till, Friday a photocopier as each one died yet all had been delivered before the next half day when I could have started to consider going and getting them.

I like the idea of doing the “tediousâ€

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Hi All

 

Colledges has over 20,000 items in stock and as this is a new internet venture (and poor old Rob has had to enter all the data in his spare time - bless him), then some items (mostly from the key category I understand) have still to be entered in the product catalogue. If you can't find an item or its a special offer that is missing from the ecommerce interface then by all means enter it into the customer notes box and at least colledges will call you to confirm availability etc.

 

Regards

 

Simon Hodges

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(and poor old Rob has had to enter all the data in his spare time - bless him)
You Mean he works for himself and yet he has spare time! Bless him indeed hallelujah !!!

 

I'm not a fan of the I.E. browser, I use Mozilla Firefox & noticed a few issues, viewing of previous orders & adding / viewing Favorites, will these be overcome in the future?

 

Oh... and the prices are too high :lol:

I'm not a fan of IE either, but I have 4 browsers on my puter and am happy to use IE for certain sites where it works best, on Robs recommendation this is the one I'll use for his site.

 

Still a credit to both Rob and Simon.

 

Lee

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Hi All

 

With regard to cross browser compatibility this is really a question of development costs. For Colledges the internet realm was an area of business uncertainty where it is difficult to know whether your costs/investment will be justified or not. Like it or not 90% of users use IE and it is more cost effective for a e-business start up to program for that customer base. To program and check across all browsers and opertaing systems can increase the costs of development exponentially seeing that to be really through you need to check for bugs in all versions of IE, Firefox, Netscape etc and their equivalent versions on windows, mac, unix, linux etc.

 

Like Lee I agree that if a site offers a service but requires a certain browser it doesn't hurt to use that browser for the duration (as long as you keep it a secret from your browser conscience).

 

I'm not a fan of Liverpool but I dare say I'll watch and support them during the European Chapions League final.

 

Regards

 

Simon

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  • 4 weeks later...
Guest lee.

Have used the fantastic Colledge site to order Materials and Keys on a couple of occasions now , found the service FANTASTIC ! , unlike when i have visits from Reps from other companies , i know exactly what i am paying , i can see my bill tally up as i order , a member of Coledges staff phones me to take payment details and offer alternatives for any items out of stock ( just Gripsotite , caused by Caswell fire ! ) , and the goods arrive the very Next Day .

It seems that other suppliers have a lot of catching up to do ! , other reps tell me that Company websites are coming soon , but nothing seems to happen , they tell me that very few repairers use the internet ,so they have no urgency in making e-commerce availiable , instead they rely on long out of date brochures and monthly offer sheets for items they never seem to have in stock. Three Cheers to Rob and the Crew for making life a lot easier , Andy.

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