andrew_s wrote:It's probably best to have at least the username part of the email address as an image.
Email addresses in plain text get harvested by web crawlers, added to spam lists, and the next thing you know your customers' emails are lost in a sea of junk.
That is the fear, but it no longer happens, at least if you have a competent email provider instead of rolling your own. Getting your customers to jump through hoops to email you is a bad idea.
I agree that the telephone is better than email for some things including checking whether the shop is open or has a particular part before you travel 15 miles to find out. Email is better for answering typical questions about a component, e.g. “Are these shoes compatible with 2-bolt SPDs?”.
Of course a web page that describes the product adequately eliminates most queries. Good photographs of the product from every angle go a long way, because the customer has probably researched the product online and knows that SPD-compatible shoes need two bolt holes on the sole and that, if there are two holes, they’ll be at SPD spacing. A photo of the sole therefore eliminates that question. However, the manufacturers have even less sense about selling than shops, so they’ll probably not provide a glossy photo of the sole. So make your own! An iPhone in daylight suffices.
Providing an MPN as many continental shops do is also very useful. Again it offloads the research onto the customer, but at least it gives the customer the chance to do that research. Many of them will gladly do that.
This is where Spa Cycles does poorly. I am sure they answer the same question a hundred times because they don’t give all the necessary info on their website. SJS Cycles makes a better attempt at this and also provides Qs from other customers and As from the (highly knowledgeable) staff – so everyone can benefit from the questions, most of which are nonetheless predictable from the lack of info.
As with so many things, websites are easy but thoughtlessness makes them hard.