The Crazy, Messed Up World of Ecommerce

What if offline shopping were as cruel and difficult as buying online? What does that world look like?

Video #1 – If Only Search Engines Could Understand What We Want

Video #2 – Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought…

Video #3 – Premature Redirection

Video #4 – Zero Results Found

Video #5 – Price Checked

Video #6 – Bananarama…rama…rama…rama

Video #7 – Abandoned

Related Articles

69 Responses to “The Crazy, Messed Up World of Ecommerce”

  1. Bill says:

    Those are pretty funny. I’m subscribed (pick me!).

  2. Jordan says:

    Hey, I think I see a Team 1040 t-shirt!

  3. Alexei says:

    heh. nice. Although I had troubles in IE7. Firefox worked fine. just me?

  4. You’ve been blogged!

  5. jennifer s says:

    Hey i subscribed as requested. cool videos.

  6. Jennifer says:

    Subscribed. Hopefully Google Reader will be able to restore the subscriptions it just ate without unsubscribing me….

  7. Jordan says:

    Very nice. Subscribed–hope you’ve got more coming! (One grammatical quibble: unless you’re announcing that you’ve just recently recovered from being sick, it’s improper to say “I’m well.”)

  8. Scott says:

    Pretty darn funny – for the ‘people who bought this also bought’ it’s less annoying than how in brick and mortar they put little piles of stuff they put in the middle of the already cramped aisle to try and cross sell. :)


  9. ron says:

    Well done. Theres so many videos that could be made on this.

  10. I’ve already subscribed – so can I still win?

    I do like the videos.

    #3 – the point is subtle, and it took me a few moments to figure out what you were saying – that going from a point deep in the web site to another part shouldn’t force you to go back to the top where you can disremember what you were about to do.

    #2 – when you check out at a real store, you often go through a ‘channel’ that provides you with impulse buys, such as gum or batteries. This doesn’t seem to be any more intrusive than a web site that offers you stuff during checkout. Maybe your point is that the e-commerce suggestions need to feel less like new web pages and more like the gum hanging on the kiosk?

    #1 – this was funny, but I think you could make it even more interesting by showing how the user has to educate herself on the right terms to use to get what she wants – it’s hard to know what the search engine requires, and the choices (“Yahoo!”, in this case) require you to learn alternate methods.

  11. Darren Barefoot says:

    Steve: Thanks for your comments, we’ll take them on-board. We’ve got a few more (frankly, we’re still figuring out how much funny we’ve got left), so we’ll be keen to hear what you think of those.

    Yep, you can still win.

  12. Oh, then you should contact me! I’m full of funny.

  13. Oh, but I think I need to withdraw from the contest – I’d contact you to explain why, but there’s no contact form on this site. :/ bummer.

  14. Darren Barefoot says:

    Steve: In truth, the videos are “in the can”–we’re just not sure how many of them are worthy of publication.

    You can drop me a line at darren [at] capulet [dot] com. And I’ll get on EP’s back to add a contact link to the site.

  15. aBookworm says:

    Count on me! I’m subscribed and have a link on my blog.

  16. Arnie says:

    YouTube is block by my company, is there another place where they can be viewed?

  17. Darren Barefoot says:

    Arnie, I’m going to upload these videos to some other sites over the next couple of days. Did you have a particular site you can access? I was thinking of also posting them on MetaCafe, Revver and to start with.

  18. Stephane says:

    Have you thought of doing one on checkout and forcing users to register?

    Scenario: shopper goes to checkout. First clerk asks her if she has already an account, and if she has forgotten her password.
    She does not have an account, so 2nd clerk asks her for first name, last name, birthdate.
    She does not enter birthdate in the right format, the clerk blurps out a random error message and she has to repeat everything again.
    Third clerk forces her to enter a user name and password. At that point, she leaves her cart and runs away. Quite understandably.

    My $0.02 :)
    At that point, understandably

  19. Darren Barefoot says:

    Stephane: Good idea! In fact, we’ve got one coming up that’s very similar to that.

  20. I have subscribed. Great stuff!

  21. I’m subscribed, thanks. The videos are a bonus, I’m really liking the blog posts. Not sure what to make of the one titled “Table Draft” though, … oh, it’s been removed but is still hanging around in Bloglines. No worries.

  22. Evan says:

    I just have to say, the women in this series is, Breath-taking..Are you available?

  23. Al Boxall says:

    The videos really are brilliant!! Thanks for the tips on the Blogging for retailers white paper Dave O. Found your blog after Etail. Spreading the word.


  24. Darren Barefoot says:

    Evan: Sorry dude, she’s currently taken.

  25. An excellent take on customer frustrations as they are negotiating their way through e-commerce sites! On looking at the 3 current videos I would think there is potential ammunition for a good number of these types of videos, perhaps more than 6-8 as you are predicting, but either way this project should provide a richer and more viral way of highlighting common frustrations.

    One initial recommendation (just in case you need more!), particularly as the videos are closely related to grocery shopping, could go by the title of ‘I know you sell what I’m looking for so where is it’ which would relate to poor on-site search functionalities on major online grocery stores, which fails to locate a product or products which you know exist in the store – when you navigate the categories (aisles) to find the product it appears as you would expect.

    As for the project as a whole and this blog its a great fit to my own blog on usability, user experience and information architecture, with a particular focus on e-commerce after 6 years at Littlewoods Shop Direct, so I’ll be linking to this thread and I’ve also subscribed to the blog!

    Great stuff – and good characters also!

  26. Beth says:

    I’ve subscribed. And blogged. And very much appreciate the frustrations of the online shopper!

  27. Wendy Bales says:

    Hi Guys-
    Great videos! Love the turnip!

    Mark- you are MADE for You Tube! ; )

    I agree with Steve’s comments that the points are subtle, especially #2. I have not had experience where I cannot seem to checkout quickly because of the site trying to cross-sell. Is that a common problem?

    Either way, great viral marketing!

  28. Very clever. They definitely ring true in many cases. Must go and check my site…….

  29. Jack Jia says:

    So hilarious and true!!!

  30. These are great, very entertaining. Made my morning. I subscribed to the feed and posted on my blog.

    Tracy Gibson

  31. Nice and so true videos.

  32. Moritz says:

    Subscribed to the feed and posted in my blog.
    Well done, guys…


  33. It’s so true I could cry. Wickedly funny guys. Kudos!!!

  34. Very funny… Surfers are a unknown unspecific Mass of impacts on a webserver. On the internet no one can hear their screams… ;-)

  35. SachaL says:


    Nice job & great viral marketing. You have been blogged again :

    This reminds me of other examples I encountered as online shopmanager. They could be quite fun too (I swear they all did happen):

    * Basket swapping :
    The heroine arrives at the payment desk and wants to pay. The clerk announces a strangely high price. There she notices, the items in her basket do not belong to her (somewhere else, another customer finds himself with her stuff)…

    * Problems with the payment :
    The heroine wants to pay with her creticard but then notices, there is no slot to put the creditcard in

    * Weird product classification :
    While going through the alleys, the heroine notices there is one complete alley for each single fruit (ex: one alley filled with bananas, another with apples, etc.). In the alley with the batteries, she notices, all the batteries are mixed up in a huge container without name or label on them.

    * No photos available :
    The heroine finds herself in a store where every product is shown in a brown parcel with just his name written on it

    * Outdated bestsellers :
    The heroine notices that in every alley, there is the same, outdated besteller : the brandnew record-player ! (or: a toboggan in the summer)

  36. Raphaël says:

    Nice work, very funny.

    Please more!

  37. Krista says:

    I found you through SEOMoz. Great videos. I’m looking forward to future releases!

  38. william says:

    LOL !!!

    # 404… If you are feeling lucky….ahahahhahaha..


    good job!

  39. Good job guys! I have subscribed! I have linked to you guys as well. Looking forward for more…

  40. Bojan says:

    Heh cool videos, Video #1 is my fav

    here is a good alternative to old school search engines

  41. Aditya says:

    I subscribed. I’ll be posting you in my blog soon as well. Pick me. Seriously.

    Zero results found… awesome!

  42. Eddie says:

    “Video #5 – Price Checked” is the funniest one yet.
    Great work!

  43. Enjoying the new ideas from SachaL (BTW, i subscribed to the “Learn French by Podcast” podcast so i can read your blog ;-)) and Stephane – great ideas too. And cheers to Steve for the indepth deconstruction and enthusiasm. I am cheering for you all to win the goods!

    Plus … Al, very glad you found the Blogging for Retailer paper helpful – let me know where/when you start blogging.

  44. Cory York says:

    Great stuff guys. I passed them on to our India office and the feedback was great.

    Plus I love the marketing exposure you are receiving for it.



  45. Sudenmorsian says:


  46. plitfyg says:

    I like the movies. Nice idea.

    I have subscribed BTW :)

  47. elojas says:

    These are great, very entertaining.
    I subscribed to the feed and posted on my site.



  48. Minkie Best says:

    Brilliant, what a good way to show e-commerce whooses why their clever ‘features’ do not work.

    Will add to news/blog page in a bit.

    Do keep making more vids. I’m sure that plots will keep being offered.

    How about:
    Paying by credit card and the card is refused because it is from out of state (or country) and payment by banker’s cheque or even gold bulletin required instead.

    Or: Delivery offered, but then refused because the address is not local.

    Or items offered at very low prices, but then the delivery is exorbitant and well above actual postage costs.

  49. jake says:

    Great !! It is very very funny.

  50. [...] can be a crazy messed up world indeed. The Elastic Path team recently produced a series of e-commerce shorts including my personal favorite: “Zero Results Found.” Because art imitates life, and [...]

  51. [...] promote a series of videos for Elastic Path, an eCommerce company in Vancouver. They were called “The Crazy Messed Up World of eCommerce”, and asked the question “What if offline shopping were as cruel and difficult as buying [...]

  52. [...] right… My first ‘real’ post. I found this site surfing through the web the other day. This post in particular was what got me. It’s about how the world might look if real world shopping were as [...]

  53. MP3 Music says:

    good job, really video, thanks

  54. Hmmmm. Funny looking videos. Minkie that was a moronic generalization of e-commerce “whooses”. Maybe you should Thinkie More instead of Thinkie Less Minkie Best

  55. Steve says:

    Very nice video.
    Treepodia, the leading supplier of video platform for online retailers, reports major increase in sales of retailers who are using video in their site.

  56. Hund says:

    I liked the first video best! :-)

  57. [...] when you think we’ve wrung all the humor out of ecommerce with the Crazy Messed up World of Ecommerce series, out comes video number 4, “Zero Results Found” in which the nattily-attired [...]

  58. [...] come back and your order is still there. The flip side of this scenario is the theme of sorts for Crazy, Messed-up World of Ecommerce video #7 [...]

  59. [...] not adjust your screen! The eagerly awaited episode 6 of (everyone sing it now), “The Crazy, Messed-up World of … Ecommerce” series Bananarama…rama…rama…rama crawls into the issue of ssssllloooowwww site load [...]

  60. [...] piped in with an example of how Elastic Path pitched the Crazy, Messed Up World of Ecommerce series. We sent out videos (starring Darren Barefoot) to influential bloggers, and about 6 out of [...]

  61. [...] Effective Online Merchandising, What Sells? Crazy Ecommerce Video: Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought… Check out all merchandising [...]

  62. [...] article also references a series of viral videos we did back in 2007 called the Crazy Messed Up World of Ecommerce which we admit were not quite as popular with the Youtube crowd as say, the Evolution of Dance but [...]

  63. Good post. Very true points, I can imediatelly relate it to how my wife and I shop; I mean, she shops and I’m buying stuff :)

Leave a Reply

© 2014 Get Elastic Ecommerce Blog. All rights reserved. Site Admin · Entries RSS · Comments RSS