A Baseline : K2IncenseOnline
Today’s (admitedly brief) offering is meant to serve as an example of an acceptable, if slightly less then desirable, baseline one can use to measure the bare minimum to demand from an online herbal vendor. This isn’t to imply that they are a particularly good example of a vendor, but they’re a reasonable approxamation of the bare bones you should look for. Kind of like it takes more then a set of wheels and an engine to make a car, but you aren’t getting very far if the basics aren’t accounted for. Our look at K2IncenseOnline is all about the basics.
And basic is about all you’re going to get off of this site. There are no frills, no flare, and nothing really of much distinction or remark. Practically speaking, this also means they aren’t bloated with a bunch of useless or otherwise annoying crap. No sleazy incense burners or vague scrapes at legitimacy here, just an assortment of commonly offered salts, incense and party accessories on a carefully but unambitiously crafted template storefront website meant to obviously draw in the (honestly quite passe) “K2 incense” search traffic.
The simple grid layout and side bar menu is a good benchmark for navigability. After all, if you can’t find what you want to buy, you aren’t going to buy it. Wall o’ Text and link driven attempts like Herbal City’s didn’t work in 1998, and they don’t work now. Never underestimate the ire of an annoyed customer either. Too much crap and a divorce from simplicity can work against you. Too much can be overwhelming and can drive traffic away.
The second thing you need to have are reasonable prices, and K2IO is a reasonable approximation of ‘fair’. They aren’t the cheapest, but they aren’t clubbing you over the head and taking you for all you’re worth either. Give yourself a few bucks of variance either way based on what you see here. Any cheaper, and something is fishy (or they’re recouping the cost elsewhere). Any pricier, and you’re getting ripped off (unless they’re shipping it to you in a solid gold box or something).
The real reason why I wanted to call up K2IO is the fact that they cleanly and succinctly lay out what a secure and trustworthy-ish payment processor explanation and terms and conditions should look like. No fancy language, no pitiful attempts to hide holes in the system. Just straight forward, zero bullshit, and plainly stated language about what they do and what you can expect. They key components to look for are SSL transmission AS WELL AS a secure payment processor. As we’ve talked about before, you need BOTH. Lacking one or the other might as well mean you’re writing your info on a postcard. Demand a statement that is overt and states plainly that they use both and that no information is retained, or move on.
Beyond that, you should be given obvious and reasonable information about your package, how it will be shipped, and how it will arrive. You also should be given overt information about their return policy. Despite what your jerking knee might think, “All Sales Final” is a reasonable return policy, especially when coupled with “but we’ll fix it if it’s our fault”. You do, however, need to know if that’s the case up front. You also want to know when you can reasonably expect your shit to get there, so knowing that if there is a shipping cutoff and knowing how often they ship allows you to plan accordingly when placing your order.
Lastly, the FAQ is straightforward, answers any remaining questions about the interaction, and provides an obvious means of contact and stipulations for doing so.
As stated. This is a baseline. Could you order from here? Sure, but again, as a last resort. If anything, this is an example of the bare minimum to require from any place you shop from.