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I know this doesn’t apply to everyone, but I personally really enjoy the physical catalog experience. It’s just another part of the planning process, which in many ways is just as fun as the working on and driving parts of the hobby.
Catalog, highlighter and bathroom....I'm good!
 

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Catalog, highlighter and bathroom....I'm good!
I prefer a Sharpie and my recliner, but the dog follows me to the bathroom, too.
 
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I gave up the highlighter and use the catalog and just have the npd website pulled up and add parts to my wishlists.
 

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I love the catalog and use it extensively. The website design actually is pretty good. It’s just the search engine that is absolutely horrible. I actually discussed the issues with the developer a few years ago, but he just made excuses why it was so difficult to fix it. Being in the software development business I can’t buy it. Lots of websites provide excellent search engines without any problems. Just this past weekend I was incredibly frustrated trying to look up a piece I knew they sold. I finally looked it up in.the catalog. Enter the part number and boom there it was. Type in the EXACT NAME from the website and it isn’t found but 1000 unrelated parts are that don’t even have the name in it... when the new website debuted a while back the search engine was actually working better.. now it’s the worst it’s been. I can’t imagine how much business they are losing to customers that give up trying to find even simply items.
One key feature it is missing is the ability to enter specific phrases by placing them in quotes. This is an easy way to narrow results.
 

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You didn't say you don't like them, but you made damn sure to go out of your way to mention them. Be sincere...this thread had/has nothing to do with any age group, mine or yours, so stop trying to make it be.
I’m a Boomer. The change in retail culture is absolutely relevant to the thread. In fact that’s the point. The design and navigation of the NPD site is from a time when our generation was running and designing the internet. It’s pretty bad. Embarrassingly bad. And that’s after they upgraded it. It’s simply the culture that the family business has passed down. It has roots as a mail order company and has stayed that way. They are in a market where it’s basically us old guys buying parts for our old cars. If they were going more head on with Jegs or Summit they would be at a competitive disadvantage. Particularly with younger customers. I think they’ve got great service and parts but to me it’s apparent they don’t quite get modern online retail culture.
 

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You all should try working with FMCDEALER.com for an 8 hr work day. Then you will have something to complain about,stupid thing has 50% that does not work on a good day. And FORD is a heck of a lot bigger than NPD.
 

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Summit Summit Summit Summit. Every retailer who does not strive to have exactly what Summit has is WRONG. Their competition, like Jegs and Speedway, have, at best, 5% of the robustness of Summit. Even Ebay and Amazon should be paying attention. I don't know what Summit's profits look like compared to NPD, or more importantly the number of individual items in their catalogs, but Summit is the cream of the crop. I'm not just saying that as a customer. I'm not even THAT loyal to them, I will often use them to find the existence of a part and buy it cheaper elsewhere (they price match but I am lazy).

My praise is more because I have been doing databases and highly complex reporting systems for a number of years. The people who cracked Summit's system are extremely aware people. Saw a billion issues before they existed.

Sorry, Rick, but when it comes to online catalogs Summit is the bar and you should try as hard as you can to get there.

Summit isn't even perfect either. I know how to break it. But it's usually my own misunderstanding of a part, or how they might categorize it, that leads me to its limits.
 

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We are all a different flavor:

1. I keep my monitor at 110%, I cant do that with a paper catalog. When I use a paper catalog, I need a magnifying glass. Yes, I have a current prescription.

2. Summit has a compare feature for up to three items, very handy when trying to determine differencs between parts.

3. Why did I get fender covers in the search results on NPDs website when I did a search for "Brake Booster"

4. None of the websites do a good job ranking similar parts by quality, NPD does the best of them in this regard.

5. CJPP has fake sales all the time, I find that insulting.

6. We are lucky to have so many Mustang vendors.

7. Summits website does not return all items in a search, if you have a p/n it will show up, but will not show up in a general search. Thats odd.
 
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I’m a Boomer. The change in retail culture is absolutely relevant to the thread. In fact that’s the point. The design and navigation of the NPD site is from a time when our generation was running and designing the internet. It’s pretty bad. Embarrassingly bad. And that’s after they upgraded it. It’s simply the culture that the family business has passed down. It has roots as a mail order company and has stayed that way. They are in a market where it’s basically us old guys buying parts for our old cars. If they were going more head on with Jegs or Summit they would be at a competitive disadvantage. Particularly with younger customers. I think they’ve got great service and parts but to me it’s apparent they don’t quite get modern online retail culture.
I'm not a "Boomer". For the record, I'm a "Generation X" (an old Gen X mind you). (By the way, Gen X gets absolutely no press! :( ) I guess as we age we tend to get more patient. So we can look parts up in a catalog and then got to the website (especially since we were accustomed to only having catalogs at one point). I've said before that I will go to other websites, do a search for a part and then use the part number found to go back to NPD's website and find it that way. A bit time consuming as well.

So I get the go to a site, type in "steering wheel" and it should show only steering wheels. I can also see where it could hurt sales if when someone goes to the site and it's not that easy...

As they say, patience is a virtue...

Allen
 

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I'm just now stumbling on this thread, but I've got to run out for an hour or so. So this will be brief, possibly followed-up by more later... You can call these excuses, or "forcing the customer to adapt", but hopefully some of this helps you out and helps you better understand.

* I recreated some of the early examples, and did not get the same poor results. Brake boosters got me all the brake boosters right away. But I did not make the mistake of clouding the search with "1967", I used the year filter. Please understand that our data is structured like Ford did it. So do not type the year or "mustang" in your search query. That is what the model and year filters are for. We do not include year and model in our descriptions, so all you're doing is sabotaging your own search by entering terms that don't exist in our descriptions. Please understand that it would be a MESS if we put the years in the descriptions, because year ranges for Mustang are typically not the same ranges for truck, or Bronco, or Cougar, yet many of these parts have applications within all of those model ranges. Admittedly, there is a right way to do it, we're just not there yet. Right now we are upgrading our operating system, so the web code has to wait.

* Please provide me an example of where we have the "same part" under numerous different part #'s and records. This is news to me.

* We have over 125,000 active sku's, and it's been a full-time job for years to get our descriptions/data pulled away from the original Ford Text format (which before the internet, was the logical and organized way to go), to a web format, where you basically describe parts in a conversational manner. That said, the simpler you keep the search, the fewer keywords that you toss in there, the less you're going to confuse matters. I find that many people think that the more words they put in, the better the search. Not so. The more words you enter that do not happen to match our description fields, the more you are sabotaging your search.

* The most frustrating thing with me, is that I know what is available out there. I know what products exist. So when folks wax-poetic about other websites, I have to bang my head against the desk, because I battle with these sites trying to find specific items daily. I see all of the nonsense and shoddy research and incorrect applications and stuff that is not showing up in the search results, or is irrationally buried 2 pages deep in the search results, on other websites. I am on other websites daily doing product and price comparisons, and they drive me nuts, sometimes I never find what I'm looking for but that I know "must" be there. Not sour grapes mind you, just trust me that all automotive websites could use some help, but it's not as easy as you might think it is.

* Many of the most-popular websites gain their "power" of robust information and robust search terms and glowing/detailed descriptions from a database provider called "ACES & PIES". With ACES & PIES, you can't get the baby without the bathwater. And the bathwater is full of incorrect research, incorrect applications, descriptions and marketing write-up that's pure fantasy (written by the manufacturers, not the company selling you the part, so of course everything is "great"), and so-on.. At face value it looks fancy, first-rate, and helpful. But when you know what you're looking at, it's full of land-mines and bad research and data. We could convert to ACES & PIES tomorrow, and most enthusiasts would cheer. But we would have sold our soul in the process, and tossed all our decades of hard research and discovery out the window.

OK, now I'm late!! LOL... I just re-read this, and I sound defensive as hell... ;) I get it folks, I get it. For the last month and a half, Scott has had some "free time" and he started at page 1 of our catalog, and started re-writing and embellishing web-descriptions to assist in search and to assist with SEO. Just think about sitting in front of a computer, starting at page 1, starting to type furiously, and how long it would take you to get to the back page of 12 catalogs and roughly 4,000 pages of dense-packed product. We (NPD) started our business well before the internet. So did other companies. Other companies "caught up" to the internet by uploading data and information from 3rd-party providers... Other people's research... We've refused that compromise, and stand firm that our research and application data is the best and most accurate for Mustang. It's just a bit tougher to search through it, and I'll give you that. :)

Rick
NPD
 

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Rick, as an example try searching for without the quotes “tail light screw” - set the filter to 66 mustang.

Many would expect that this would return only (or at least rank at the top) item with all tree words. That is how search often works works - adding additional terms to filter items and be more specific (at least simple to use sites such as google use this style of search phrases, and this pattern follows natural language patterns).

On your site, it appears any item with any of the terms is returned, and tail light screws are not ranked at the top - more than 13 pages of items are returned. Putting the terms in quotes does not help the search at all either.

This is an actual search example that I tried recently and just reverted to looking in the catalog instead.

Great service with NPD on my two orders, and I plan to order many times again! The search however is not useful most of the time.
 

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I'm just now stumbling on this thread, but I've got to run out for an hour or so. So this will be brief, possibly followed-up by more later... You can call these excuses, or "forcing the customer to adapt", but hopefully some of this helps you out and helps you better understand.

* I recreated some of the early examples, and did not get the same poor results. Brake boosters got me all the brake boosters right away. But I did not make the mistake of clouding the search with "1967", I used the year filter. Please understand that our data is structured like Ford did it. So do not type the year or "mustang" in your search query. That is what the model and year filters are for. We do not include year and model in our descriptions, so all you're doing is sabotaging your own search by entering terms that don't exist in our descriptions. Please understand that it would be a MESS if we put the years in the descriptions, because year ranges for Mustang are typically not the same ranges for truck, or Bronco, or Cougar, yet many of these parts have applications within all of those model ranges. Admittedly, there is a right way to do it, we're just not there yet. Right now we are upgrading our operating system, so the web code has to wait.

* Please provide me an example of where we have the "same part" under numerous different part #'s and records. This is news to me.

* We have over 125,000 active sku's, and it's been a full-time job for years to get our descriptions/data pulled away from the original Ford Text format (which before the internet, was the logical and organized way to go), to a web format, where you basically describe parts in a conversational manner. That said, the simpler you keep the search, the fewer keywords that you toss in there, the less you're going to confuse matters. I find that many people think that the more words they put in, the better the search. Not so. The more words you enter that do not happen to match our description fields, the more you are sabotaging your search.

* The most frustrating thing with me, is that I know what is available out there. I know what products exist. So when folks wax-poetic about other websites, I have to bang my head against the desk, because I battle with these sites trying to find specific items daily. I see all of the nonsense and shoddy research and incorrect applications and stuff that is not showing up in the search results, or is irrationally buried 2 pages deep in the search results, on other websites. I am on other websites daily doing product and price comparisons, and they drive me nuts, sometimes I never find what I'm looking for but that I know "must" be there. Not sour grapes mind you, just trust me that all automotive websites could use some help, but it's not as easy as you might think it is.

* Many of the most-popular websites gain their "power" of robust information and robust search terms and glowing/detailed descriptions from a database provider called "ACES & PIES". With ACES & PIES, you can't get the baby without the bathwater. And the bathwater is full of incorrect research, incorrect applications, descriptions and marketing write-up that's pure fantasy (written by the manufacturers, not the company selling you the part, so of course everything is "great"), and so-on.. At face value it looks fancy, first-rate, and helpful. But when you know what you're looking at, it's full of land-mines and bad research and data. We could convert to ACES & PIES tomorrow, and most enthusiasts would cheer. But we would have sold our soul in the process, and tossed all our decades of hard research and discovery out the window.

OK, now I'm late!! LOL... I just re-read this, and I sound defensive as hell... ;) I get it folks, I get it. For the last month and a half, Scott has had some "free time" and he started at page 1 of our catalog, and started re-writing and embellishing web-descriptions to assist in search and to assist with SEO. Just think about sitting in front of a computer, starting at page 1, starting to type furiously, and how long it would take you to get to the back page of 12 catalogs and roughly 4,000 pages of dense-packed product. We (NPD) started our business well before the internet. So did other companies. Other companies "caught up" to the internet by uploading data and information from 3rd-party providers... Other people's research... We've refused that compromise, and stand firm that our research and application data is the best and most accurate for Mustang. It's just a bit tougher to search through it, and I'll give you that. :)

Rick
NPD
The brake booster search probably worked well as booster is a term that is not common. My previous example of searching for a Part with a common word such as screw or bolt is much more problematic.
 

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One thing about Summit is when you type it suggests part categories, which I know most of, and that helps off the bat in narrowing things down. I don't walk in the front door of a grocery store and yell out the name of a product I need.

I type as little as possible and rely on clicking to find things. So I don't care about descriptions, I care about attributes.
 

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I'm not a "Boomer". For the record, I'm a "Generation X" (an old Gen X mind you). (By the way, Gen X gets absolutely no press! :(
There’s a “kid” that works for me (at least he did before our industry was wiped off the face of the earth, literally...) that was born in the millennial time frame that is adamant about being a Xer. He says that regardless of when he was born he “identifies“ with being an Xer than a millennial. :unsure:

As they say, patience is a virtue...
And wasted time is wasted opportunity.

Some of use boomers developed the www. I was in it in the early years.
OK Boomer, err I mean my contemporary... :cool: According to the kids I’m one of the “good ones”. My guess is they’re just humoring me until I retire so they can take my gig.
 

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I was born in 1980 and identify as Gen X. All my family contemporaries (cousins basically), were older than me but all pretty close together in age starting in 1969. Then the next set of kids in the family had a four year gap- my sister born in 1984 is the first of them. So I grew up as the youngest of that one group that was firmly Gen-X, and so thus do not consider myself a Millennial. Which is now just a ridiculous term used to talk about all young people in the form of a complaint, regardless of when they were born. The earliest Millennials are approaching 40 now. One even tried to run for President. So now it's Gen-Z or Zennials that people are ramping up their complaints about. Which will last until those kids are just about over the hill and we'll invent another term for people who need to get the hell off our lawns.
 

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Rick, as an example try searching for without the quotes “tail light screw” - set the filter to 66 mustang.

Many would expect that this would return only (or at least rank at the top) item with all tree words. That is how search often works works - adding additional terms to filter items and be more specific (at least simple to use sites such as google use this style of search phrases, and this pattern follows natural language patterns).

On your site, it appears any item with any of the terms is returned, and tail light screws are not ranked at the top - more than 13 pages of items are returned. Putting the terms in quotes does not help the search at all either.

This is an actual search example that I tried recently and just reverted to looking in the catalog instead.

Great service with NPD on my two orders, and I plan to order many times again! The search however is not useful most of the time.
* Just like headlight, taillight is a single word.

* We're big on standardization here, which once you tune-in to it, makes things easier to search for. Because let's face it, most fastener kits are not just a bag of 8 screws, they are more commonly an amalgam of bolts/screws/clips/nuts/washers/sealers. How do you search for that? So every fastener kit in our catalog starts with "Mounting Kit". It'll serve you well when searching.

* I set filter on 1966, and simply entered "taillight". Plain and simple, one word. And within the first 15 results you had everything involved, the doors, the lenses, the bodies, and yes.. The screws, in stainless or in chrome. All up top on the first page. Product Search - National Parts Depot Better yet, enter "taillight mounting". But when you get too specific with a search, you might succeed in going directly to what you think you need, but you'll also likely miss everything else that might relate to the one thing you need.

* The results are indeed ranked. So just because you get "15 pages" of results, that's just the website providing every possible result. But they are ranked , so you can summize pretty quickly by browsing the descriptions of the results whether or not you're on a wild goose chase due to the terms you entered. Good search terms will always find your product towards the top of the first page, regardless of there are 1,000 pages of results.

* I went to CJ's site, and searched "taillight mounting kit", and the screws are nowhere to be seen. I searched "taillight fastener kit", and got a page full of engine and transmission fastener kits. See how one person can type a search on website, and go right to the product, and another person can type a different but equally valid search, and wind up in the weeds? This struggle is not exclusive to our website. I get into the weeds trying to find stuff on Summit constantly as well.

* Last tip - Our part numbering system follows logic, i.e. the Ford part numbering system. Our base #'s are the same as Ford's. If a taillight bezel has a base # of 13489 (as an example), then the kit to attach it to the car will also start with 13489. Usually, our fastener kits display on the same page, in close proximity to, the actual parts that they fasten. So if you just search the part, usually you'll also find the hardware. But if for some reason it's eluding you, just type the base # of the part into the search window, and it will return that same part along with all of the relating fasteners alongside it.

There's a million and one ways to skin a cat. I'm not saying our search engine is "as good" as others, but if you just keep you search simple, and make sure your vehicle and year filters are correct (I find that many reports of problems is due to being inadvertently toggled to Camaro or T-Bird etc..), everything you need should be on that first page, towards the top. We cannot match Google in sophistication, so do not think that piling on more and more terms is helping you. Google employs over 120,000 people, and uses computing power on the scale of multiple Watsons that creates a near-virtual "human intuition".
 

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I think you just have to learn and be used to each site. Look at RockAuto, it's unlike any of the major retailers, and even seems clunky, but it works pretty well once you understand it. My understanding is that it is kinda what people who are used to being on the other side of the parts counter would see in some of those systems.

I admit not having too much familiarity with NPD because I will often just Google something like, "Mustang taillight NPD" and find what I want pretty quickly. Google is about the only place I will yell into like that, because it works, for the reasons you mentioned. Amazon and Ebay also work more like a search engine than a search function. But on both of them the attribute search leaves a lot to be desired, if it's available at all, and even then it will leave products out (for instance tires, not every tire for sale on Amazon will come up if you utilize their tire specific searching). Then for other items the attribute searching is totally generic- price, brand, etc. You can type in "shift knob" into Amazon and pull up thousands of products but there's no box to check for the thread pitch, you have to type the thread pitch into the search bar and hope it works out, which it often doesn't, at least not very well. Ebay is a little better in that regard.
 

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As if I haven't already blabbered and blathered and made enough excuses....

But I must say that I'm encouraged by how many are still using and enjoying the catalogs, and I would so strongly encourage those who do not have one, to request one.

This is honest truth, and it's not just relating to NPD customers. I see, especially on social media enthusiasts sites, so many younger hobbyists who are rigidly addicted and obsessed with doing ALL of their parts researching and purchasing online... And I read the stories, and the threads, and the trials and tribulations, and lousy suppliers they get tangled-up with, and the lousy parts that they stumble into buying, and all of the stuff that they should have purchased in order to get the job done, but they didn't realize any of the other supporting components existed, because they did all of their own (poor) research online, or they ordered the wrong-application stuff, and/or yada yada yada..

The irony being, in the pursuit of doing 100% of everything "conveniently" online, they wind up inconveniencing the hell out of themselves, and running into failure after compromise after failure.

There is still nothing like the layout and organization of a catalog, for being able to easily see everything that is available, and might be involved, within the area of the car you're working on. Is it old-school? Yes. Is it good? Yes. Is the internet an incredible tool also? Yes. Will your life be better if you use ALL of the tools available to you? Yes. LOL..
 

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Discussion Starter #60
i searched for "pertronix igniter" and and going through the mess of starters and crimping pliers... igniter 1's show pictures of 3's and 2's as 1's. 4 different versions with the same title and description. cant tell if they are single point or two point. also some of them are misspelled as "ignitior" i had to try to compare them to other websites to make sure i was getting the correct one
 
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