FOCUS: RESTAURANT SUPPLIES – boxer northwest

Reviewed March 14, 10:00 a.m., Explorer 4.5 (www.boxernw.com)

although Boxer Northwest clearly understands the key elements to becoming a successful online cataloger, it has yet to master most of them. Starting things off, the home page is less than dynamic, but it has a cute logo and doesn’t overwhelm the consumer with too much information. Also, Boxer makes a point of emphasizing the online catalog portion on the home page so that customers can get right to ordering. Moreover, the link to industry trade magazine Nation’s Restaurant News lends the site a sense of authority and makes it seem that the company really is a member of the restaurant community.

But though this Website incorporates most of the key elements the Cybercritic looks for, many are either less than adequate or simply not working. The tips section, for instance, is under construction. And while the home page promises “hot deals” – complete with a fiery icon linking to weekly specials (you fill in a form to receive notification on new items) – I am unable to buy one of the featured high chairs. One moment the chair is in my shopping cart, but when I try to add another selection, my cart shows up as empty. If you value your time and sanity, as the Cybercritic does, avoid the specials and stick to ordering from the regular merchandise, where you won’t encounter these problems.

Less critical, but equally annoying, is the poor spelling on the site. Just one example: After trying to order the high chairs I attempt to buy some aprons. I click on “add to cart” and get a response that reads, “You shopping cart is empty.” That doesn’t make me feel confident about Boxer’s overall attention to detail. And I sorely wish the site had a page explaining its shipping charges.Overall, Boxer Northwest is unable to make ordering easier than, say, hitchhiking to the nearest supply store. But when I decide to cancel my order altogether, I find that it’s the one thing I can do on this site with relative ease.

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