Shapes and sizes


I’ve noticed a lot of variance in how retailers report the sizes of their items. Usually, the dimensions shown will reflect the product itself, but sometimes they’re actually describing the shipping box or a carton that contains more than one unit of the product. Worse, for items that have an inside measurement or carrying capacity (such as luggage or coolers), the data is even harder to figure out.

I propose a simple solution to this: just label each set of dimensions so people can understand them. For virtually every product, this means there will be a line labeled “Product dimensions”. If the item has an inside compartment, you’ll also have “Interior dimensions”. And finally, if the size of the shipping box is available, call it “Shipping carton dimensions”. For cartons that contain more than one item, specify that as well.

Sure, this all seems totally obvious. But I rarely see dimensions stated clearly, even on major sites like Amazon. By adopting this simple approach, retailers would significantly reduce the number of returns due to products that were much bigger or smaller than expected. At the same time, they would sell more products by eliminating the need for customers to leave their site and hunt all over the web to find the real dimensions of what they’re trying to buy.