Responding to customer feedback, the U.S. Mint is implementing
improvements to its website Aug. 30. Among the changes is one that
Mint officials claim will eliminate system slowdowns and crashes
during the release of limited-edition and high-demand numismatic products.
According to Mint officials, the improvements to the website at www.usmint.gov constitute replacement
of the current “shopping cart” Web pages of the online product catalog
with new ones to streamline order placement.
One key improvement cited by the Mint is the introduction of a
“waiting room” feature that is activated when the number of customers
outstrips Mint website capacity.
The feature will be deployed when the Mint reaches its capacity to
accommodate customers all attempting to order a high-demand product at
the same time. It will be deployed on a product-by-product basis,
according to Mint spokesman Michael White.
Previously, on the initial day of sales for a limited-edition
numismatic product, customers were often greeted with a sluggish
website or totally prevented from gaining access to order any product
from the online catalog.
Once the waiting room feature is triggered, any customers
subsequently visiting any online page of the product catalog will be
given the option to enter the site to “get in line” or to leave the
site, according to Mint officials.
Once in the waiting room, a customer’s computer screen will post a
notification of the estimated waiting time, which will update
automatically. A small status circle will “pulse,” according to Mint
officials, to signal to the customer that the system is active.
Mint officials advise that customers who close the online window
and leave the waiting room will lose their place in the ordering
queue. While in the waiting room, however, customers may open other
tabs in their browser or another browser window to visit other websites.
“The waiting room concept has been tested with customers and
received positive responses,” according to U.S. Mint officials.
In recent years, the catalog website has often been overwhelmed by
customers seeking to order high demand products on the first day of
sales, causing system overload and ultimate crashing.
Customers unwilling or unable to use the waiting room feature will
continue to have the option of leaving the Mint’s website and
returning later to purchase the product or products, if any remain available.
According to U.S. Mint officials, the new shopping cart Web pages
to be introduced Aug. 30 will be easier to read, with wider pages,
more white space and less text.
The new shopping cart pages will also provide Mint customers with
more information about the numismatic products they are previewing or
ordering, including a small product image and a link to the product
description, price and quantity. ■