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Thread: Dear Rob Lee - Website Fix Date?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2006

    Dear Rob Lee - Website Fix Date?

    I am posting this here because I do not know that messages to Customer Service are faithfully delivering the message to the top . Please read this in the positive and "constructive information" form in which it is intended.

    Is there a fix date for the new web site? In case the message isn't getting through, it's pretty awful. Navigation is nonsensical with searches for very specific items returning completely scrambled results. It's almost as if the search field is taunting us. It states "Search by product name, keyword or product number...". When I put in a set of keywords like "anti corrosion bags" I have to get to page 3 of the search results, much of which has nothing to do with "bags" before I find them.

    If I simplify the search to something like "bags", they still end up on page three. The search engine thinks the following things should be the results for a search on the string "bags":

    • Packable Shoulder Bag

    - I'll buy that one.

    • Dowel Rods
    • Couplers for Decorative Piping Tips
    • Hanger Bolts

    - And a two more items that have nothing to do with "bags" other than the fact that they may be packaged in them. You then get:

    • Lee Valley Shipping Bags
    • Shipping Bag Pods

    - I'll buy those too but, these are followed by several more items that have nothing to do with "bags" for a page or two until you finally find more "bag" related stuff; this is really broken.

    - The search results for exact item numbers seems to work most of the time. The "fuzzy" capability to make up for human error (oh's for zeros, format issues like spaces) in item numbers seems to be non-existent.

    This is not a rant. This is meant to be constructive. If ANYONE in Lee Valley's I.T. department is reporting the current state of affairs as "acceptable" or "gaining acceptance", they are misinforming you. The buzz online is that it is horribly broken. People are saying that they are shopping elsewhere; it's that bad.

    Problems with a new launch happen BUT, there is no discussion / monologue / information stream coming out of Lee Valley to ease our concerns and assure us that the current state is acknowledged as a problem and that steps are being taken to correct it. We need to hear that message. We need to know, that you know, that this is not OK.
    Last edited by glenn bradley; 02-16-2020 at 9:34 PM.
    "What kind of chump do you take me for?"
    "First class."

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    I agree the search function here is useless, turns up pages of stuff that have nothning to do with what you searched for. I gave up using it. I have better luck with google altho it happens there too sometimes.
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Longview WA
    Blog Entries
    My link to the old LV site took me right to the tool listing page. Now it takes an extra click. Then there are a lot less categories than the old site. There isn't even a listing for spokeshaves.

    Someone needs to have a few moments with the old web site to figure these things out for the rest of the world.

    I agree the search function here is useless, turns up pages of stuff that have nothning to do with what you searched for.
    Bert, you are right on target, but there is a fiix. What comes up in Google with an SMC search is this > junker to jointer

    This returned:

    SMC Search 1.png

    If you clip out the > www. < to get this > junker to jointer < and then hit return you will get better results:

    SMC Search 2.jpg

    From two results to 138 results with the wanted link at the top.

    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2018
    Vancouver Canada
    Although counterproductive, I call the local store. They look it up in the printed catalogue.
    Sometimes I have to call customer service 1-800. Can you imagine how expensive that is for the company.
    I agree with everyone here.
    It’s not an easy site to navigate.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Elmodel, Ga.
    Apparently their web designer is the same people that have done Lowes. Can't find anything remotely what you are looking for unless you first have the exact name, id number and store stock number. Then if by chance you find it and the item shows it to be in stock, you go there to purchase and they don't have it. This happens continually here at their site. I've complained several times to the manager and even went as far as corporate with my complaint, but get nothing but blank stares and the same response, such as "I know", or the deer in the headlights look.
    Flustrating. Outside of having to wait a few days for delivery, I'll hope online or elsewhere from now on.
    Last edited by Keith Outten; 02-19-2020 at 2:22 PM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Wayland, MA
    They probably had the guys at Amazon do it. It seems it's no longer possible to search for an exact match on amazon (the typical 'include the word in parentheses for an exact match' no longer works). Reading on the seller side provides insight-- lots of clues and strategies for getting your product to show up in irrelevant searches. It seems they're actually encouraging this unfortunate behavior.

    At this point my best approach to any of these sites when I know exactly what I want is to use a google search restricted to the site, ie include "" in the search string. You still get back hits from sites that have been packed with thousands of (sometimes hidden) keywords, but it often helps.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2018
    Ottawa, On, Canada
    It’s really sad that their web store is useless. I used to search through it and either order online or just drive to the local store to pick it up. Recently, I find myself often looking elsewhere just because of the frustration caused by the performances of the online store.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    SE Michigan
    I don’t know, Glenn, might have to disagree with you on this one. I started typing “anti corrosio” (not with quote marks) and got that far and the drop down box had “corrosion-inhibiting storage bags”. Click on that and it goes right to the bags.

    Frankly, I’ve had very little issue finding things...especially with the help of the drop down suggestions.

  9. #9
    Glenn, your post is respectful and classy (as always). I haven't had any beefs with the new site myself. I get to what I need. But it's clear that several others have, and that it has potential to impact LV's business - already has in at least a few cases. I'll bet Mr. Lee is already polling his IT support to answer your question, and will get back to us as fast as he can.

    "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."
    - Sir Edmund Burke

  10. #10
    I agree that the old website was easier to use. What I do if I'm having trouble searching for something is to look up the item number from the catalogues I've downloaded and search that number.... takes you right to the item. I know it's not the ideal solution but I'm willing to do it to shop at Lee Valley.

  11. #11
    100% agree, Glenn...

    This was my example:

    How is that sort of parameterization useful?

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Bucks County, PA
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Koepke View Post
    My link to the old LV site took me right to the tool listing page. Now it takes an extra click. Then there are a lot less categories than the old site. There isn't even a listing for spokeshaves.

    Someone needs to have a few moments with the old web site to figure these things out for the rest of the world.
    The reduction in categories is the biggest annoyance for me, personally. I don't use the search function that much, but I loved just going through all the various categories on the old site. While there are still categories in the new site, the lack of sub-categories makes things much harder to navigate. I think they should start by adding those back in.
    And there was trouble, taking place...

  13. #13
    Hi Glenn (et al) -

    Yes - we have a lot of work to do to get our website back to where the previous version was. The base search engine (which is what is running now) leaves a lot to be desired. We are actively evaluating other search engine software - and will be implementing a much better solution as fast as practical. We continue to work with the taxonomy and navigation structures - and are making some progress there. (take a look at Festool, or Veritas in the tools tab). It is slow going - but we are making progress.

    Our previous website was refined over a period of 20 years ... and we've had less than 6 months with this one. Our hand was a bit forced in releasing the site as we did, and then we had to freeze development work as we went through the Christmas period - what is visible now is only about 30-40% of our actual design.

    We know the website is not what it should be (yet) - and we are focused on cleaning up what's there, and rolling out improvements on a continual basis. Your comments here (and elsewhere ) are certainly being heard - and are being addressed. Progress cannot happen fast enough for me either!



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    West Lafayette, IN
    I just hope it’s not hurting your bottom like too much! We all love your company and it’s products, but the website is surely driving some traffic away.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Okotoks AB
    I am apparently the exception because I don't have any real problems with the new site. I can understand the frustrations of others, but because I'm such a frequent (addicted) user, I don't have any problems with finding what I'm after.

    For work, I have to deal with the websites of various electrical wholesale distributors, of which the very best are only about 1/10th as good as the Lee Valley site. You learn how to work around deficiencies in the search engines.

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