The Lollipop Problem

The Lollipop Problem

Valentine’s Day was a few weeks ago.  We have three kids, so that means class parties and making sure everyone gets a gift.  Off to the local Target we went and picked up the cards.  As we walked up the checkout, I was asked to go back and get lollipops to go with the cards.  Kids love candy more than they like cards, so to the back of the store, I went.

“How many do we need?” was my last question before hurrying to the back to get them and return before it was our turn to check out.

“48,” the simple response.

I made it back to the store and found the bags of candy.  It is easy when the store has a whole section devoted to the pink and red candy of the season.  I grabbed the bag of candy and looked at the front of the package, looking for the vital piece of information that would tell me how many bags I had to buy – how many lollipops are in one bag.  The information readily available in big print on the front of the bag was of no use to me.  I did not need to know how many ounces or grams of candy were in the package.  No one goes to the store for 5 ounces of candy, do they?

Looking at the front of the package, nowhere was this information given.  I started to try and count the number of pieces of candy in the bag.  That did not work.  Feeling around the package, I  guessed that there were around 20 pieces in each package, but I also felt like that number might be a little on the high end.  I grabbed 4 bags, assuming I would have one bag too many, but I was adamant about being better safe than having to load back up and return to the store.

In the end, the truth was that I had 2 bags too many and there were almost 30 lollipops in a package.  Thank goodness, my kids love lollipops.

The Business Application

So what does it all mean?  It is simple, in business, present the information to the customer in a way that is useful to them.  It is perfectly fine to have the exact information available, but if your customer does not know how to put that into terms they can understand or know, then you might not have a customer at all.  Also, put the information in a place that is easy for the customer to find.

In the lollipop example, knowing that there are 120 ounces of candy does not help anyone out.  Putting on the front a small note, approx 27 pieces, helps the customer.  I did find that this information was on the back of the package in the nutritional information section, so I give them credit for that.

The truth though is that in this modern age, a customer or potential prospect gives you very limited time to grab their attention and show them that you are worth the cost.  You are given limited time to show them your value.  You need to make sure that pertinent information can be found quickly.  This information also needs to be in terms they understand.

While not every customer needs to know how many lollipops are in a package, some do and providing this information in an easy manner is just good design.  Everybody notices and appreciates good design.