Ordering and Shipping

Locked Why is it so difficult for my customers to place an order?

I just announced my book a few days ago and people are contacting me because they don’t understand how to place an order!  This is a big problem.

The site is designed under the assumption that everyone who visits is "A Blurbarian" , that is, an author. But many (most?) visitors just want to buy a book.

Even the use of the word "Blurbarian" on the Registration page is confusing.  They don’t want to join a club or a religious cult, just buy a book.

 

The "customer" should not be presented with the same screen as the author.  Each needs different information. The customer needs to have a simple, clear process to buy the book.  The "Registration" step is confusing and completely unnecessary for someone whose only interest is in buying a specific book.

This is a deal-breaker for me. I am going to do some more research on alternatives to Blurb. I have used CafePress in the past for a variety of products (haven’t tried their books) and gotten very good response.’

Blurb needs to change-and soon.

Posted by
dmxart
Jul 15, 2008 11:08am PDT
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dmxart
 

I am having the very same issue.  I have several people who wish to just by sevral books and be on with it.  Have you had any suggetions?

I like the book quality and process but do not like this part of the package. do you know of any other company who presents a different approach?  All the Best, tom and there is no one to talk to about the problem

Posted by
rollinthomas
Jul 15, 2008 8:28pm PDT
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rollinthomas
 

I’m doing a quick survey of photobook sites and I’ll post my info here in a day or two.  There are many sites out there.  So far I haven’t found a service exactly like Blurb.

I also like Blurb’s book quality,software, and price so this is particularly frustrating.  It’s not clear to me why the company took this approach.  At the very least they should have help page explaining the steps required to buy a book.

Something like:

1. You’ll see a spot in the middle of the page that says SOFTCOVER and HARDCOVER.  Enter the quantity you’d like to order and click on ADD TO CART.  

2. Then you need to "REGISTER" by giving them a USERNAME. EMAIL ADDRESS, and PASSWORD.  Then click on REGISTER

3. Then enter your name and address…etc.

Posted by
dmxart
Jul 16, 2008 5:00am PDT
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dmxart
 

Hi dmxart,

We are looking into other solutions for those not wanting to register in order to buy books from the bookstore. As soon as we have made some progress, we’ll let everyone know. Thanks for your ideas, please continue to add them here. In the meantime, thanks for your patience.

– Kathy 

Posted by
kathybad
Jul 16, 2008 10:03am PDT
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kathybad
 

Hi Kathy:

 Thanks so much for your post.  It’s refreshing to hear directly from the company and to know that some one is paying attention.  I have calmed down a bit from yesterday’s level of frustration.  However, I notice that no one has managed to order my book yet.  I would have expected to see a few purchases by now based on what people have told me.

I know nothing about Blurb’s business model or goals so anything I say here is just based on my observations from using the site.  It seems that there are several "groups" (markets?) you are targeting.

1. Authors who only want to buy books for themselves.  The site is OK for them as is.

2. Customers who want to buy a specific book.  This is where the site has problems:   All visitors must register. But registration is really only needed for authors who need to return to the site.  When customers make a purchase they will give you all the info you need to bill, ship, and track their order. 

Right now the site requires that they register for a site they may never visit again and certainly don’t need "an account" for.  I’m not trying to overdo it here but one person who contacted me had never made an online purchase before and was completely baffled (not entirely your fault).

 3. You also seem to be trying to get visitors to treat the site as a "bookstore" where they can browse and shop.  That’s fine, but it’s got nothing to do with me as an author and it only serves to distract my customers.  Please keep all that material out of the process until the sale is made.

 Although CafePress is obviously different from Blurb I think they’ve got these functions pretty well separated on the site, even for the free storefronts.  I used to have a premium account which made it even easier to keep people focused on my products.  I could even control the appearance of all the "shopping cart" and "help" pages.

  The "storefront" page itself is confusing.  I would suggest that it state clearly "START HERE TO BUY THIS BOOK"  and include directions .  Although the page design is pleasant (orange type on woodgrain) it should be more businesslike: black type on white always works best.

 I’ll be quiet now,

 Dan

 

Posted by
dmxart
Jul 16, 2008 1:17pm PDT
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dmxart
 

Hello Blurbarians and Dan

I stumbled upon this site and it really looks great. I am setting up to sell digital art and photos online. I plan to do customized work for clients and this looks like a great place to create wonderful, quality books for potential clients.

However, I am concerned about the client being able to easily purchase books without having to register. I could send them a flash flib book sample of the book and then make it available for them to purchase ONLINE.  I would not be able to purchase it for them first.

Is this possible with Blurb? I whole heartedly agree with Dan that Blurb has better quality than Cafepress- but if it is too difficult for clients to purchase- it would be a deal breaker for me and I see no reason to sign up with Blurb. This really seems like a good site- I really do hope I can use it- it would be so profitable for me and for Blurb as well. And such a loss for us both if this isnt possible.

Look forward to being a Blurbarian….

 

Posted by
Cybersparkle
Aug 25, 2008 4:03am PDT
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Cybersparkle
 

Great to hear you’re ” looking into other solutions for those not wanting to register in order to buy books from the bookstore.” Been a year since we first asked for it and explained EXACTLY why it’s necessary and in EVERYONE’S best interest:

http://forums.blurb.com/forums/6/topics/952

Been holding my breath since then. Please implement the change before the Sun goes ice cold. Thanks!

Posted by
Michal
Aug 25, 2008 4:30am PDT
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Michal
 

Havent read many of the replies on this topic, I just wanted to state that It is ridiculous that anyone would have to join to be able to purchase a book. I have been a member on here for a year, and I just realized what ourcustomers are experiencing when wanting to place an order. It is absurd to force anyone to join anything to merely purchase a book. I am having serious thoughts of moving elsewhere. Sorry but it bothers me that much.

klong1234

Posted by
klong1234
Aug 31, 2008 5:17pm PDT
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klong1234
 

Hi this might be the wrong topic but i opdered my book and it never showed up i was wondering if there was anything i could do , cus i payed for the book and never receved the book or a notice saying my book is ready to be picked up so if anybody could help me it would greatly help thanks , mt email [removed by moderator].

Posted by
diabloson56
Sep 1, 2008 2:35pm PDT
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diabloson56
 

diabloson56,

I’m very sorry to hear that you have yet to receive your book. Please contact Customer Support immediately and they’ll help you track your package. 

Also, I removed your email address above to protect your privacy and adhere to our guidelines. 

– Kathy

Posted by
kathybad
Sep 2, 2008 10:23am PDT
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kathybad
 

I published my first book about a week ago and sent out a notification to a few friends. They complained to me about having to register just to buy the book. They just wanted to buy the book only. I hope Blurb would be able to make this buying process simpler by not making it mandatory for all potential buyers to register. I have faith in you.

On a different note, my book got to me within 10 days of ordering, to Ottawa, Canada. The finish of the book just blew me away. I had used ‘si’ before but did not get the same exicitement I am getting right now. A minor complaint would be the dust jacket was not folded correctly, thus the cover image was not centered as previewed. 

 Two thumbs up for Blurb, and Thank You!! I will be sticking with you for a while.

Posted by
arunak
Sep 4, 2008 1:07pm PDT
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arunak
 

I am having the same problem. There are (at least) two major problems with Blurb’s approach to sales from the site.

(1) Buyer has to register an account to buy a book. I know of no other ecommerce site that makes that as a requirement. It’s a barrier to buyers continuing with the purchase decision.

(2) Your so-called “pricing” is confusing buyers of my book. They don’t understand why your stated price is different than what I show on my storefront, and I get calls about that. Once I explain your price is my cost, they said they understand, and then they go on to ask if they could just buy directly from me, in part because of (1) above and also because of high shipping cost. I end up buying a quantity of books and selling directly.

Your book cost information should be available to book authors only (by signing in to their account), and to those who register an account to explore using your printing services. Buyers should not be required to register an account.

So, bottom line is, your site fails as an ecommerce site. And because I have my own website (www.poesyart.com) that affords a better opportunity to display and discuss my book, I find the only value Blurb offers is book printing. Whoever is in charge of ecommerce needs to completely review the approach to selling.

Posted by
poesyartist
Sep 13, 2008 7:41am PDT
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poesyartist