Hidden pockets

23Oct08

Last weekend, I went shopping for a new winter coat. I’ve been wearing the same coats for almost a decade, so I figured it was time to find something new. In particular, I wanted a mid-weight coat for when the temperatures are in the 30s or 40s.

I located a good match rather quickly. But there was an odd problem: it had no pockets. My wife said that maybe they were just sewn shut, so we tried to open them. No luck. So I asked a sales rep, who proceeded to rip open the pockets and tell us they were sewn shut, as if we didn’t even think of that. The enormous effort required to tear the pockets open was obvious to her, but not to a customer.

I ended up buying a totally different coat at the store, but the pockets thing still bothered me. And I think the solution is rather obvious. When your product has some unusual attribute that defies expectations, find a way to attach a tag or notice that tells prospective buyers about it. After all, if people don’t know about the pockets, they may as well not be there at all.