The Pocket Principle

Some things just happen.

Pockets for instance. Let’s take the kind I am most familiar with: men’s pants pockets.

Are your pockets too short?

If you do stick your hand in your pocket, chances are that you will find that it is just right. Not too shallow, not too deep. Not too tight – just right.

Who decided what pockets should look like? Who dictated where they should go? Who decides the depth, the angle, the size?

A designer did of course, but what set if rules did they follow? Who dictated that they should be just so?

No one. Everyone.

Just the momentum really. A bit of logic, maybe – they should be where your hands can reasch them. But we don’t give it too much thought, and even designers probably don’t think too much about where the suit’s pockets go. They go where they always have. In the same size. The same depth.

The collective wisdom of the ages.

You don’t notice or think about your pockets.

Until they are wrong.

If you suddenly can’t reach the coins in the bottom, or they are too shallow and everything falls out, or too small. Then you notice.

And in a retail store there are many pockets.

Little pockets of customer interaction that you never notice. Like where your counter is located, forcing the queuing customers and the entering customers to cross over. Merchandise that is too high, or too heavy. Things that are not priced.

How did that happen? Is that just the way it always has been? Are you really aware of your pockets or, if you are honest, do you not really notice them?

When a customer has to ask you where something is in the store; that is a pocket of failure. You can call the customer stupid or lazy or blind, or you can put your hand in your pocket and figure out if the customer experience really can’t be better.

Great brand experiences don’t happen by accident, they happen by design. How much time did you spend designing the customer experience?

Unlike pockets, customer experiences can be ‘wrong’ and you may never notice. Unless you consciously go about designing the right customer experience.

Because, believe me, the customer notices.