Practical Ecommerce

The Shopping Experience: Source 1 Medical Offers Easy Navigation, Good Service

Each month, Practical eCommerce sends me shopping. I make a purchase from a real online merchant and create both an article and a video of the shopping experience. My goal is to report back to you about the overall checkout process, customer service experience, website aesthetics, and delivery. This review should provide a consumer’s perspective about the featured merchant in particular, and about online retailing practices in general. To avoid receiving preferential treatment, we do not notify the merchant about the impending review. Think of it as a secret shopper program for the Internet.

In this edition, I visited Source 1 Medical, an Ocala, Florida-based retailer of physical therapy equipment that targets professional physical therapists. Although I did find four minor issues that I would change if I were in Source I Medical’s position, I was generally very pleased with my smooth and professional shopping experience. In fact, I would describe it as completely uneventful, which in terms of online shopping might be a very good thing.

Video: Shopping Experience at Source 1 Medical

Great Selection and Professionalism

From the moment that I arrived on the Source 1 Medical website, two things became very clear. First, the site offered a great selection of products large and small that would have seemingly satisfied any therapist. And second, I was dealing with a professional business.

These two points are so important, and yet too many ecommerce stores can overlook them. Source 1 Medical gets these right, to which I say, “Bravo.”

The Shopping Cart and Checkout Process

Source 1 Medical uses NetSuite to power its online store, a fact made clear by the NetSuite logo high up on nearly every page on the site. NetSuite is known to be an effective ecommerce solution that is particularly of interest to businesses selling in multiple channels or that require a lot of accounting and inventory management integration.

I had no real problem using the platform or stepping through the checkout, but like most NetSuite sites, the checkout was very slow and cumbersome, which could lead to great cart abandonment. As a matter of preference I like a single page checkout, and again, this NetSuite implementation took several pages to lead me through the process (one of the four things I would change).

Customer Service

Source 1 Medical provided good customer service, sending me an order confirmation and generally provided good information on its website. Most of the usual questions were answered without having to go too far. It was a quick and smooth transaction.

I did click on a link that said “100% Financing,” only to be shuffled off to another website. That was far from what I expected, but more on that below.

Source 1 Medical provides a resources section that I really liked. While I did not do a lot of digging, I suspect that this section helps its search engine optimization and is help to some of its customers.

Site Design and Aesthetics

Source I Medical is (as I mentioned above) very professional looking. The site has visually-pleasing header graphics, a good logo, and fine layout. All of this provides prospective customers with a feeling of trustworthiness.
While I was never in awe of the design, I was also never worried that I was not working with a reputable company. However, there were three things I would change in the site design, which I believe could even make it better.

  1. Layer and facet the left-hand navigation. In the present design, the font in the left-hand navigation is too small. Source 1 Medial should try for a layered and faceted navigation, like what can be found on HoMEDICS’ site. This may be a shopping-cart platform weakness.
  2. Change how the “100% Financing” link works. As mentioned above, when I clicked on the “100% Financing” link I was swept away to another domain, Amerisource, and given a very different visual presentation. The result was surprising and a little jarring. Source 1 Medical should at least use an iFrame tag to maintain a consistent look and feel for this page.
  3. Appearance of a product on the Contact Us page. What the heck is that doing there? There is product listed at the bottom of the “Contact Us” page. Maybe I just didn’t get it, but this looked like a coding error to me.

Shipping and Delivery

Source 1 Medical shipped my order the very next day. But because I selected UPS Ground, a very slow service, the package took a week to arrive on my door step. Still, Source I Medical was quick to ship.

Why Require the WWW?

As a postscript to my review, we noticed that visiting http://source1medical.com results in a page not found error and http://www.source1medical.com with the “www” in place takes you to the website. In my opinion, this is a huge problem, and I am glad we caught it. This is typically a hosting setting and it should be fixed, as both URLs should point to the home page.

Summing Up

Source 1 Medical is a professional looking online store that offers a large selection and a functional shopping experience.

Armando Roggio

Armando Roggio

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Comments ( 3 )

  1. Chris "Cartel" English April 7, 2009 Reply

    Nice review I agree with everything stated. The product at the bottom of the contact us page was just weird. Is this an attempt to cross sell a product on this page or as you stated a programming error?

    I found a lot of the type on the site really small at the 1280×1024 resolution my monitor is set at.

    the "www" problem could be solved with a few simple lines of code to the .htaccess file. I had to do the same thing on my site for SSL purposes (though you wouldn’t get an error by typing in the site’s url without the "www").

  2. Chris "Cartel" English April 7, 2009 Reply

    Question: How do you determine what sites to shop at for this segment?

  3. Armando Roggio April 7, 2009 Reply

    @ Chris "Cartel" English

    Regarding "How do you determine what sites to shop at for this segment?"

    We use a complex algorithm, some darts, and a swallow of Full Sail Amber Ale (ok so sometimes it is more than a swallow).

    Actually, I pick the sites. But I am very willing to hear suggestions. I just want the experience to be a surprise for the retailer.