What’s wrong with online baby retailers: an open letter to Buy Buy Baby

To the tech folks over at Buy Buy Baby,

I direct this letter to you because it happens to be where I registered. However, the same concept applies to most other baby item retailers: Babies R Us, Nordstrom, Land of Nod (surprisingly not Pottery Barn Kids) I’m looking at you, too.

Perhaps I notice this as a user experience “professional” more (what does that even mean?) but it is frustrating when registering/buying things/being a hermit who buys things online in lieu of human interaction. But nevertheless, I have noticed this problem, and it needs to change.

Here is how the rest of the Internet handles products that come in multiple colors/patterns:

  1. You list the product on the website
  2. The person interested in the product clicks into the product for more details
  3. The person looks at the details and, this is where it gets important, can see all the different colors available for that product on the same page
  4. If there are reviews, all the reviews are for all the colors are combined there.

Note: that each color might be listed as clickable separately, but are then combined in the product details. Let me demonstrate. Here is what happens when you go to gap.com and look at, say, tees and tops:

gap_example_front_listing

If you’re a customer looking at these products, you can see that there are 2 “burnout dot” tees and 2 “stripe-hem” tanks. You can also see there are more colors in each. Say you want to look at the burnout dot tee, because you can also see there are additional colors. So you click into one of the shirts and lo and behold, all the colors are listed and you can see all the reviews for that product, not the reviews per color

gap_example_product_listing

Makes sense, right? Right. It does. Because this is how e-commerce works. This is how we have become accustomed to shopping online.

Now, let’s change gears and go shopping for baby gear, shall we? Let’s say I want to look at diaper pails. Diaper pails come in a ton of different colors per option. Here is what you get when you search for diaper pails.

buy_buy_baby_retail_example

Wait…there are 10 different Ubbi(r) Diaper Pails…and they are all the exact same except for the color? So how do they all have different ratings? (Some with no reviews, some with 2, some with 3, some rated at 4 stars, some at 3, some at in between)? Here’s how. When you click into an Ubbi Diaper Pail color, it is the only one listed for that product. Instead of clicking in and then being able to select the color you want, you are presented with only that option: 

diaper_pail_product_detail

There are NO options for other colors. The reviews for this diaper pail are different than any other of the others of the exact same product. What you are forced to do, then, if you need to look at a cumulative view of all the reviews, is click into all of the separate colors of a product that are the same product, and read the reviews for each color, and mentally sort of average-out what people think of it.

Read that again. I, the customer, am forced to aggregate all of the reviews mentally myself, instead of the website doing it for me, as you the retailer claim to do.

Let me also state this clearly: this is the same experience for every single product/product type on your website.

The diaper pails are an easy example to demonstrate, but it gets even more frustrating when you’re looking at, say, swaddling cloths that come in multiple sizes and colors/patterns and are all mixed together. You have literally no idea if you have seen all the color and size options, and sometimes don’t even realize that there are sizes, because they are listed separately too. At this point, just listing the sizes each as a different product with the colors inside would be a vast improvement.

Buy Buy Baby, I know it’s not just you. Let me stress this again: this is a problem that exists on almost every single baby retailer website. I don’t know why, and I don’t know how, but please, for the love of all that is holy, stop it. Fix it. Work with the baby gear manufacturers to list supply their products in some sort of way that you can list them logically. Moms are notoriously sleep-deprived – for the love of all that is holy don’t make them reach for yet another cup of coffee on account of you.

Love always,

MotherhoodWhat

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