Retail Feature Labels Don’t Tell All

Just a quick one for this evening.

Today, I went browsing through David Jones to look at all of the audio visual products on display. It was a fairly standard sort of layout with those little signs next to each product with two to four features listed along with the price. Now whilst that sort of thing does look simple enough to understand I don’t reckon it gives you enough information as a consumer to make an informed decision.

Why do I believe this is so?

Firstly, the retailer can choose whatever they like to list on the little laminated signs. It’s not going to be guaranteed that the same features or specifications will be mentioned across brands or even across the same manufacturer or lines made by a manufacturer. While for some items it’s going to be hard not to mention such specifications (like megapixel capability for a camera) the mention of them can lead to the next problem.

Larger numbers can sometimes be a good thing, sometimes they can be a bad thing and sometimes they don’t make a difference at all.

Again, using cameras as an example, people might be forgiven for thinking that higher numbers are better. Megapixels are one of those things that might attract a response of “kinda sorta”. Yes, higher resolutions are generally better but there comes a point that it makes little difference unless you will be printing out the captured image in a large format. Of course, the photography buffs will also chime in and mention other things like size of the sensor and speed of the lens will affect the quality of potential images. All of a sudden, you’ve just fallen down a rabbit hole while the salesperson might be trying to sell you just on the larger megapixel number.

The point I am essentially trying to make here is that you should do your product research before you go into a store. If you can’t make heads or tails of what you are reading when doing your research then you might like to enlist a friend that knows a bit and give them your basic requirements. You should be able to whittle things down to a shortlist of products that meet your requirements at which point you can be a little more discerning (how does it look, does it have all the features I am after, are there any extras that might seal the deal, etc).

These days, we need to take a bit more responsibility for ourselves when shopping as, unless you are shopping at a specialty outlet, the odds are that you’re going to encounter someone who may know enough generic information to get by but not much of the detail. Sure, we’re not going to know all the answers either but knowing where or who to go to in order to find the answer is crucial in making a wise product selection.

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