My Seasons

Spring is just around the corner, and with that in mind, the Cybercritic digs into Websites selling gardening products

Reviewed October 25, 3:30 p.m., Explorer 4.5 (www.myseasons.com)

At first glance, Foster and Gallagher’s My Seasons e-commerce site looks like any other Website: Have product, will sell. But upon closer inspection the Cybercritic realizes that the site offers lots of editorial extras in addition to an extensive selection of products from the company’s gardening catalogs: Breck’s, Gurney’s, Henry Fields, Spring Hill, and Stark Bros.

With product from so many sources, I would expect branding to be a bit of a challenge. I am pleasantly surprised, however, that when I click on an item the site tells me which of the five catalogs the product is from. This is a nice benefit to Web surfers who prefer to browse online and then call to place their orders using the print catalog.

I’m also pleased to find that the most important aspect of the home page – the search icon – is prominently displayed at the top of the sidebar. Nothing frustrates the Cybercritic more than having to search for a search key. Product category links, such as Flowering Plants & Bulbs, Fruits & Vegetables, and Seeds, make for seamless navigation. I’m never more than two clicks away from my next destination, and the bar at the top of the page always indicates how deep into the Website I am. Best of all, the home page offers links to loyalty and customer service benefits such as newsletters, discussion boards, “Ask the Experts,” and how-to articles. The site also showcases a “Pick of the Week” at the top right of the page. The Cybercritic thinks these extras foster a comfortable sense of community.

The site falls a bit short on its graphics. Some of its photos are rather fuzzy, and the copy is displayed in a variety of muted fonts on a muted background. While this makes for a soft graphic design, it’s difficult to read, though the copy itself is brief and informative.

The site’s 100% satisfaction guarantee and the 800-number are clearly placed at the bottom of the home page, and the toll-free number can also be found throughout the Website. During the checkout process, the site allows customers to opt out from information collection. And the Website’s privacy and security policy is mentioned prominently on the checkout page.

Overall, the site is a fun, informational community for gardeners. It’s also chock full of products, ranging from seeds and fertilizers to plants, chimes, and candles. My Seasons just needs to tweak some of its visuals in order to solidify its place as a top-notch gardening site.

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