Computer: Web Technology
Standardized Internet Shopping Program   (+2, -3)  [vote for, against]
A standardized interface program for online shopping.

Online shopping is a convienient hassle. You can order items from most major brands and stores now online, and have them delivered to your door for a minimal extra price, but the actual shopping process can be a real pain. It seems like every store has a different way of doing this, or that, or odd features noone understands. It would make easier to shop if we had a...

Standardized Internet Shopping Program! For internet shopping "power users" you could purchase, or maybe obtain for free, a program that would provide a single, unchanged interface for hundreds of online stores. Instead of using your browser to load all the bloat of the website, the program would directly access the database of the retail store's website and present the data, categorized, and with features such as search.

As you shop, a running total of your cart items, which could support shopping from multiple stores at the same time, would be displayed along with a running total of shipping costs. A comparison for the same item from a different store could be automatically substituted, if the shipping costs incurred from buying from a separate store did not exceed the savings.

When it is time to check out, you enter your name, address and credit card information once for your entire order, including that from other stores. The program could store it for future use if wanted. It would then tabulate extra costs such as sales tax and shipping and present you with a final report of the goods you are to buy. After you send the order, it sends a reciept to the printer for your records. That could include an individual reciept for each store you made a purchase from, or a full report including all your purchases and shipping costs for that one session.

After your order was sent, it could be added to a list of pending orders where UPS/FedEx tracking information could be downloaded to the program. An archiving utility could keep track of your purchase receipts as a proof of purchase in the event you wanted to return an item to the store.
-- BinaryCookies, Oct 06 2002
One interface. Finds you the best prices, too. [waugsqueke, Oct 07 2002]

NQL Browser Recorder or ShortKeys Lite
Create "dynamic bookmarks" and playback whole web browsing sessions -- From Steve Bass article [reensure, Oct 08 2002]

Easier said than done, but at least partially baked in the minds behind Microsoft. If your version of Microsoft's "wallet" were the standard, there would be howls of protest from retailers who get nailed on pricing considerations at every turn -- "We have the name recognition and spend the advertising money to attract people, and our competition closes every sale!" I admit that current portal framing rules create a hassle for shopping online by requiring several logins and registrations, and that service to indentifiable groups of shoppers could be streamlined when they are referred to affiliated stores. Without fee-for-service passthrough business, though, e-commerce (with the possible exception of EBay and private enterprise sites) would not exist.

It's much more simple to hand the kids a few dollars and hope they come home safely than to go into detail about a long web-generated list of things they could purchase ‘if’ the money was there.
-- reensure, Oct 06 2002

It's not designed to replace the web interface. It's use is for power shoppers to be able to directly access their favorite stores faster and more convieniently.
-- BinaryCookies, Oct 06 2002

[sp: receipt, conveniently, .. its use is]

How do you imagine the interface between your program and the existing web sites?

Would the program "know" or "learn" how to navigate the existing websites on its owner's behalf, or would the websites change to, for example, support some general XML DTD for shopping interfaces?
-- jutta, Oct 08 2002

There's a link for an interesting approach to one of your frustrations, ¯BinaryCookies: disappearing form information. As you get deeper into your description of the ideal system, you've raised other requirements that need to be addressed separately.
-- reensure, Oct 08 2002

random, halfbakery