All I ask for is a decent site

What do you want from a model railway shop?
User avatar
RRH87
Posts: 4
Joined: Thu Jan 26, 2012 9:42 pm

All I ask for is a decent site

Postby RRH87 » Tue Jan 08, 2013 11:51 pm

From my experience the majority of model railway websites are beyond poor. It's as if when the Internet first emerged the had a website designed an never updated it. There are free website designes out there that would look better!

Hornby appears to be one of the only decent websites out there, but you would expect that from a manufacture, but somehow Bachmann doesnt come close!

The sites themselves really don't fill me with confidence that they are a reliable or trust worthy retailer. Even Hattons (the best of a bad bunch) as poor quality pictures, a terrible search engine an set reviews wouldn't go a miss. while on hattons their categories are poor too. Click oo gauge you are met with a massive list options which only lead to other big lists of products.

If I search a shop I want to be able refine my search in this case by gauge, manufacture, class etc. Not be met with a list of every article an product in every gauge an news/press release that has ever been posted on the site.

I'd like to see a good quality pics too an more of them in different angles not some small thumb side shot where you can barely make out any of the detail.

Last but not leat there not nessesary (because theres plenty of yt) but always a good touch just to put Some vids of the products, reviews, advice, help etc

If you know any good retailers with good websites please let me know

.......Vented ;)

User avatar
thebritfarmer
Posts: 1490
Joined: Tue Jun 14, 2011 11:46 pm
Location: Windsor, Ontario
Contact:

Re: All I ask for is a decent site

Postby thebritfarmer » Wed Jan 09, 2013 12:37 am

Sorry can't agree with you on the Hattons website, never had any problems finding what I want and I think it breaks down quite nicely into different sections. Are you using ehattons?

I don't have an issue with Bachmanns site either, they don't sell directly so not sure what you are looking for from them.
All Aboooooard !!

Brossard
Posts: 303
Joined: Thu Apr 26, 2012 1:37 am
Location: Brossard, QC

Re: All I ask for is a decent site

Postby Brossard » Wed Jan 09, 2013 12:56 am

I gotta agree with the 'farmer, I've been using Hatton's for years without a problem. Their product presentation is good for me too. They have secure payment and prompt shipping. Shipping cost to NA is the most reasonable I've seen. They also deduct VAT when shipping overseas (something to be on the lookout for - not all do it).

There are smaller traders with less sophisticated sites but I've only rarely (maybe never) had any that are useless.

John
John

brit-in-bama
Posts: 214
Joined: Sun Dec 26, 2010 8:46 am
Location: Alabama U.S.A

Re: All I ask for is a decent site

Postby brit-in-bama » Wed Jan 09, 2013 2:26 am

I'd like to see a good quality pics too an more of them in different angles not some small thumb side shot where you can barely make out any of the detail.

I have got to disagree with you on most sites and particularly the e-hattons site, it is well presented, easy to navigate, well cross-referenced and the photo's can be enlarged, plus the fact you can also enlarge your own screen view by holding down the ctrl key and hitting the + key to give you a full screen shot if you so desire, I have a 31" monitor and never have I managed to pixilate a photo from e-hattons showing their whole photo, plus photo's cost money and time to put on web pages, also they must take them themselves so as not to infringe on anyone's copywrite, so if the sites bother you that much, dont visit them.

It's as if when the Internet first emerged the had a website designed an never updated it.

the reason why most internet sites are the way they are is because they work! they are a shop window to sell stuff, not every shop is a Harrods, and can afford to spent the time to make them pretty for your pleasure, as the cost would be reflected in the prices, and I am sure that you would not want to pay the difference!

User avatar
Bufferstop
Posts: 12832
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2010 12:06 pm
Location: Bottom end of N. Warks line

Re: All I ask for is a decent site

Postby Bufferstop » Wed Jan 09, 2013 10:38 am

On a couple of occasions Hattons have fallen into the trap of photographing the item in its poly bag, producing a really useless image of a poly bag :shock: They do often include a ruler alongside the object to give some idea of size. The worst culprits have to be Amazon usually giving the sizing information for the retail pack not its contents.
Growing old, can't avoid it. Growing up, forget it!
My Layout, My Workbench Blog and My Opinions

User avatar
bike2steam
Posts: 1061
Joined: Wed Jan 13, 2010 2:46 pm
Location: near Blandford

Re: All I ask for is a decent site

Postby bike2steam » Wed Jan 09, 2013 10:41 am

Lets face it, some people are harder to please than others, as far as I'm concerned if it gives all the relevant facts then I'm happy, I see no problem with either the Hattons or Bachmann websites, but there again I'm easy to please :) .

User avatar
TK421
Posts: 962
Joined: Thu Mar 17, 2011 1:42 pm
Location: Faringdon with one R

Re: All I ask for is a decent site

Postby TK421 » Wed Jan 09, 2013 11:00 am

I rember the hattons site before they had e-hattons that was a pain. I agree the search engine is a bit of pain on the website as the search is too general. But overall I find the website one of the better ones. I like the model railways direct website with a photo of each type of loco in a menu page nice and easy. The shop has said it will be improving the website on recomendations and requests of it's customers.
Commander tear this ship apart until you have found them track plans!

User avatar
alex3410
Posts: 3400
Joined: Wed Nov 14, 2012 4:39 pm
Location: Essex

Re: All I ask for is a decent site

Postby alex3410 » Wed Jan 09, 2013 11:27 am

generally speaking i agree there does seem to be a high % of websites in this field that are naff and could really benefit from an update,

Hornby has a stunning website as does Airfix

Hattons website is ok, it does have really nice images that make finding stuff easier (especially when your like me and need images to identify things :lol: ) but it really would benefit from better filters so you only see the stuff your interested in - for example i only want to see 00 and all of the other results just get in the way.

one of the better websites is http://www.themodeller.com/ which i will nose around regularly because its such a pleasure to use.

Talking of the old Hattons website when i was at uni (computer science) we had a module on website development (what i do now) and the final bit of work was to look at a set website that was chosen by the tutor that was in particular need of an overhaul and redesign it - the website he chose was the hattons website (the old one) :lol:

a particularly bad example is the Branch lines blog http://branchlines.blogspot.co.uk/ last updated in 08! i had to email them to request a list of products and prices - a simple information based content management system website that would let them update it themselves would only cost a few £100 (rough estimate £300-400ish) and would let people view products etc - the cost of the website would be more then made back by the increase in orders.

I guess it all boils down to the investment of time and money - why bother if the current website is working? with Hattons it does work once you get to know the site using it is simple enough (i have placed several order with them - excellent service) and with branclines they are the only place i can find what i want (railbus motor kit) so even with their naff site i will still probably end up placing an order with them

Steve Hill
Posts: 236
Joined: Tue Nov 06, 2012 9:50 pm
Location: North of Oxford

Re: All I ask for is a decent site

Postby Steve Hill » Wed Jan 09, 2013 11:36 am

If you look at the small ads in the trade press etc, it is staggering - in 2013 - how many people in the trade still do not have a website at all. I know some of them are tiny operations, maybe just other hobbyists trying to make a bit of pin money, but really a phone number and "send SAE for list" is not going to cut it any more.

It is not hard to get a simple site up and running, especially if you only have a few products, or to set yourself up as an eBay or Amazon retailer. You don't need to take all major credit cards or anything either. Just get yourself an online presence!

m8internet
Posts: 1640
Joined: Mon May 15, 2006 7:32 pm
Location: Cumbernauld, Scotland

Re: All I ask for is a decent site

Postby m8internet » Wed Jan 09, 2013 11:47 am

Steve Hill wrote:It is not hard to get a simple site up and running, especially if you only have a few products, or to set yourself up as an eBay or Amazon retailer
Just get yourself an online presence!

However, that assumes the retailer has a computer in which to access enquiries and orders, driven from their online presence
Some smaller retailers just can't see past the stock they have and prefer the traditional methods
Equally, I know of two retailers that have shops and attend exhibitions, and this is the only way in which I can make my purchases, existing customers continually ask for even just an email address so they can submit an order but they are just not interested
In my opinion that is their loss
Glasgow Queen Street Model Railway layout : modern image N gauge using DCC

User avatar
Bufferstop
Posts: 12832
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2010 12:06 pm
Location: Bottom end of N. Warks line

Re: All I ask for is a decent site

Postby Bufferstop » Wed Jan 09, 2013 1:02 pm

If it's a specialist supplier with a limited range of goods A static site with email address phone and fax numbers at least lets you know this is a one man band doing this in his spare time. (He won't have time for maintaining a full ecommerce site).
Growing old, can't avoid it. Growing up, forget it!
My Layout, My Workbench Blog and My Opinions

User avatar
SirMeliot
Posts: 535
Joined: Sat Dec 23, 2006 2:25 pm

Re: All I ask for is a decent site

Postby SirMeliot » Wed Jan 09, 2013 5:56 pm

Bufferstop wrote:If it's a specialist supplier with a limited range of goods A static site with email address phone and fax numbers at least lets you know this is a one man band doing this in his spare time. (He won't have time for maintaining a full ecommerce site).


Jim McGeown's site is a good example.
It's my favourite website of any model railway manufacturer. It's simple and clearly laid out and lets you see exactly what you're getting. Where instructions are electronically produced they are downloadable from the site which really lets you see what's what in a kit.

User avatar
RRH87
Posts: 4
Joined: Thu Jan 26, 2012 9:42 pm

Re: All I ask for is a decent site

Postby RRH87 » Mon Jan 14, 2013 12:17 am

I must admit having been a bit harsh on hattons the first time around. I have recently discovered the "advanced search" on ehattons which has been very helpful (except when I get the problem page and referred back to hattons site rather than ehattons) , and the pictures are a lot better than I had thought, i must have had a bad bunch.

I don't live too far away from the shop so ended up going in and the guys in there are very helpful and sorted me right out as usual.... and again same as usual ended up going away with a few bits extra but hey sometimes you just cant help yourself!

I think some of my problems came from not being able to get on the ehattons site, I thought they had shut it down and had just gone to hattons but must have been down for maintenance for a few days.

Thank you for the referral to http://www.themodeller.com/, I like that site and its good to have somewhere else to compare prices with, and thank for your replies.

User avatar
dubdee1000
Posts: 896
Joined: Mon Mar 31, 2008 9:59 pm
Location: cwm brynbuga

Re: All I ask for is a decent site

Postby dubdee1000 » Tue Jan 15, 2013 9:15 pm

alex3410 wrote:
a particularly bad example is the Branch lines blog http://branchlines.blogspot.co.uk/ last updated in 08! i had to email them to request a list of products and prices - a simple information based content management system website that would let them update it themselves would only cost a few £100 (rough estimate £300-400ish) and would let people view products etc - the cost of the website would be more then made back by the increase in orders.

I guess it all boils down to the investment of time and money - why bother if the current website is working? with Hattons it does work once you get to know the site using it is simple enough (i have placed several order with them - excellent service) and with branclines they are the only place i can find what i want (railbus motor kit) so even with their naff site i will still probably end up placing an order with them


I run my own business and typically work an 11 hour day with it. Its nothing to do with railways. To be honest, after being at the coal face all day, coming home and updating the website is low on my list of things to do - family first.

The sites that you refer to are often run by individuals who aren't tech savvy and probably find that they can make-do with what they've got. They're good enough for the purpose that the retailer intends. This forum recently ran a post about a retailers website being hacked and details of customers being revealed. There was much criticism of the retailer. Small wonder if others retailers think "why bother?"

£400 is a low estimate for the development of a website ( i was quoted exactly that for a bog standard website that doesn't handle any transactions.) That same £400 is quite a bit when utilities and leases are ever-rising.

The OP made an interesting point when he said that Hattons wasn't too far away from him, so rather than looking for videos of the models he went in to the shop and talked to the staff. Its a shame more of us don't do that.

trooper
Posts: 20
Joined: Sat Jun 30, 2012 1:38 pm

Re: All I ask for is a decent site

Postby trooper » Tue Jan 15, 2013 10:17 pm

dubdee1000 wrote:
alex3410 wrote:
a particularly bad example is the Branch lines blog http://branchlines.blogspot.co.uk/ last updated in 08! i had to email them to request a list of products and prices - a simple information based content management system website that would let them update it themselves would only cost a few £100 (rough estimate £300-400ish) and would let people view products etc - the cost of the website would be more then made back by the increase in orders.

I guess it all boils down to the investment of time and money - why bother if the current website is working? with Hattons it does work once you get to know the site using it is simple enough (i have placed several order with them - excellent service) and with branclines they are the only place i can find what i want (railbus motor kit) so even with their naff site i will still probably end up placing an order with them


I run my own business and typically work an 11 hour day with it. Its nothing to do with railways. To be honest, after being at the coal face all day, coming home and updating the website is low on my list of things to do - family first.

The sites that you refer to are often run by individuals who aren't tech savvy and probably find that they can make-do with what they've got. They're good enough for the purpose that the retailer intends. This forum recently ran a post about a retailers website being hacked and details of customers being revealed. There was much criticism of the retailer. Small wonder if others retailers think "why bother?"

£400 is a low estimate for the development of a website ( i was quoted exactly that for a bog standard website that doesn't handle any transactions.) That same £400 is quite a bit when utilities and leases are ever-rising.

The OP made an interesting point when he said that Hattons wasn't too far away from him, so rather than looking for videos of the models he went in to the shop and talked to the staff. Its a shame more of us don't do that.


A very well reasoned and very informative response. Other posters should take note it is not all sweetness and light running your own business no matter what it is. Paid holidays thats a laugh and another one You can go on holiday any time you like. And who is going to run the show???????? . I have seen a few businessess ruined and ripped of by " friends" who offered to run it during the owners holiday.
Carrying on


Return to “Model Railway Shop”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest