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Don’t confuse the customer. It makes them frustrated, and likely to switch to a competitor.

You’ve read my posts about how often I forget my phone, so I started looking for wireless leashes, and was all set to buy the Zomm Wireless Leash with an Amazon gift card that was a birthday present.

I had carefully researched the different brands and models, and had settled on the Plus model, which has an iPhone app that interacts with the device, so you can do clever things like take a photo of your things, and it will tell you where they were when they were last photographed. Almost as good as putting a GPS tracker on all your things. But the app doesn’t work with the original model.

So I thought I had found the Plus model on Amazon Prime, and was one click away from shipping my order when that nagging voice inside my head said, “don’t do it—go double-check”.

  • The new device doesn’t say “Plus” on it, so I had to go by color.
  • The original model comes in black, white, and pink, and the Plus just in black—and the photo in my cart was black; check!
  • The Zomm website sells the original for about $60, the plus for about $80, and the price in my cart was about $80, while the others I had seen were white and about $60; check!
  • According to the pictures on the Zomm site, the Z logo in the original glows blue, while the logo in the Plus glows white, and the Z in my Amazon cart is…blue—abort purchase!

So I go back to the Zomm site, and try to find a FAQ that describes the differences between the two models (there isn’t a dedicated one), and then back to Amazon to search harder for the Plus model, which I fail to find, but do find a Zomm Black MFI for Apple iOS, for $120, and with a glowing blue Z!

(I have no confidence it will actually work with the iPhone app, given Zomm’s statements, even with a picture of the app running on an iPhone next to the leash in the photo.)

Back at Zomm, I find the notice that the Plus is available only on Zomm.com and in Apple stores.

Cancel order.

The Moral

Please don’t do this to your customers. It is not nice to waste their time, or sell them something they think is what they want, but really isn’t.

Instead, make your web designers and marketing team go through the lengthy process that is “deep design” so that your customers have an amazing experience. It is appropriate to make them spend this time, instead of thousands of potential customers, of whom you would convert far more to actual customers.

Anyone have a suggestion for a wireless leash as cool as the Zomm, but which isn’t from Zomm? (Must have >= 1 week battery life.)

Author: Peter Sheerin

Peter Sheerin is best known for the decade he spent as the Technical Editor of CADENCE magazine, where he was the acknowledged expert in Computer-Aided Design hardware and software. He has a long-standing passion for improving usability of software, hardware, and everyday objects that is always interwoven in his articles. Peter is available for freelance technical writing and product reviews, and is exploring career opportunities in interaction design. His pet personal project is exploring the best ways to harmonize visual, tactile, and audible symbols for improving the effectiveness of alerting systems.

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