What started out as a quick lunch time online shopping session on a well-known art supply store’s ecommerce site quickly became today’s blog post demonstrating an exceptional example of a customer-centric ecommerce experience. I was so pleased with my experience that I had to share it with you.

I’ve confessed here before that when I am not writing about ecommerce and how manufacturers and distributors can harness the power of ecommerce to grow their businesses, I’m an artist. My usual medium is mosaic, but I’ve recently started to get the itch to do a bit of mixed media painting. Now, normally I can hardly draw a stick figure, so I’m not sure where this itch to paint iis coming from, but I’m going to go with it. Being that I normally work with glass, tile and grout, I wasn’t sure what to buy for my new mixed media painting obsession. Not wanting to stumble into the high-brow art supply shop down the block from my apartment and appear totally clueless to the high-brown store employees, I decided to do what I always do and research online first.

I started my search at the Blick.com website to get a sense of what I might need and how much those supplies might set me back. Being a mixed media painting novice, I knew going into my online shopping experience that I would probably be compiling a list and taking it to the art store to make sure I actually like the colors I’m choosing, etc. I also knew that if Blick had what I was looking for, I would head there over the high-brow shop since their prices are better and their employees are more approachable.

The best part of the Blick.com shopping experience for me is how they provide useful product information–all in one place–for materials that can be incredibly hard to buy online unless you are a seasoned artist. When you don’t know the difference between a “bright” brush for acrylic paint and a “filbert” brush for oil paint, it can be really hard to commit to putting an item in your cart.

So, it turns out that I was on the prowl for a “bright” brush when I came across this page:

Exceptional Example of Customer Centric E Commerce

When I went to the brushes category I was allowed to choose from a variety of brush families based on manufacturer. I selected the Grumbacher Academy brush family and was brought to a page that showed all of the brushes available in that category. In case I didn’t know the difference between a “bright” and a “filbert” brush (which I didn’t), Blick.com offers a series of close up photos depicting each brush type. Then, below the thumbnails and product information I was able to select from any of the brushes in the category and add them to the cart all at one time time! (See below for a picture of the Add to Cart button.)

Additionally, this product table clearly shows me which products are currently out of stock by calling out the items stock status and changing the quantity field to pink rather than green. The “add to cart” button is large and prominently placed. A quick click easily adds all of the items selected on the page to your cart.

A screen shot of Blick.com's add to cart and wish list features

In addition to adding your selection of items to your cart for immediate purchase, onsite visitors can add there selected items to a wish list by clicking on the teal blue button to the left of the regular “Add to Cart” button. I was hoping to add items to a list and then print them off without having to register or save the list first, but the site does require registration to use the list feature. Instead, I added the items to my cart and printed off my cart summary page to take into the Blick store near me. Regardless of this small “flaw” (my opinion only), I was impressed with the Blick.com site and would gladly purchase from it in the future–once I know exactly what I am looking for.

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