November 17, 2020

See what I mean?

As it happens, I didn’t have to wait long for a lovely illustration for yesterday’s principle: “a good service works in a way that’s familiar..

Last night, we made the final decision on the flooring for our new extension.   A metre of coconut matting in front of the big outside doors, with the bamboo flooring starting after that and flowing through to the library.

I went online to shop around for the matting.  It came in 2 widths, lots of colours (black of course!) and could be cut to size.   Everywhere I looked it seemed to be around the same reasonable price of £18 – £20, yet every time I entered my desired dimensions, the price jumped to anywhere between £125 to £450.  What was going on?   I couldn’t work it out.  So I asked a chat line.

This morning the answer came “The price is £18 for 0.25 metres – how much do you need?”.


I was expecting to buy this flooring the way I buy every other kind of flooring – by the square metre.

I can sort of see where this convention came from (many people only need .25 or .5 of a metre for a doormat), and why with online shopping, every seller adopted it.

But I bet nobody has thought through what effect it has on sales.   First, it feels like you are doing something wrong, then it feels a little bit like a rip-off, because the price you see is nowhere near the price you actually pay.  I nearly gave up on the idea altogether.

The answer is simple.   Make it work like everything else, then let me know how it’s different.  In this case, that I can buy less than a metre if I need to.