Pointless choices

This seems to be common on store finder applications on the web: After entering the postcode, you’re asked to enter the suburb as well.


It makes zero difference what you choose, because the suburbs aren’t huge. The Store Locator shows you stores within at least 5 kilometres, but the suburbs are much smaller than that.

In fact it’s worse in the case of the Coles Catalogue, because it ends up giving you a catalogue which is clearly marked “Vic Metro” – which applies to the entirety of scores of postcodes.

Is there anywhere in the country that has suburbs big enough that it would matter? I haven’t found any.

Making people make this choice is pointless. It’s just another barrier to them getting to your information.

3 thoughts on “Pointless choices

  1. PaulW

    It does give them marketing information. In the example, if they found there were more people looking up details for Bentleigh compared to Ormond then it’s easy to see where they put a new store, given the choice between the two.


  2. daniel Post author

    Given most web sites have figured out they don’t need this unnecessary step, I find it difficult to believe they’d rely on a small amount of online data compared to other sources of information when figuring out where to spend millions building a new store.

  3. Kiwi Nick

    Sometimes the Pick-a-suburb dialog is entirely appropriate. But not if your website is a lying piece of crap.

    I tried to register a repair job with Service Central (who find tradesmen for a job): Name. Contact number. Nature of job. Type of trade required (electrician). Street name and number.
    Then the post-code: 4103, and an auto-search comes up with a list of suburbs and I click on Annerley.
    In this particular case it’s entirely appropriate, and gives assurance you haven’t muffed it.
    I continue with the rest of the details, then submit. The first sign of trouble was a fragmented sentence (with a piece missing). So I ring them up and (after giving location details) they say: it hasn’t come through yet, wait for a bit. After two hours I haven’t heard anything, so I ring again.
    It turns out they did not service that area at all, and I should have been told that on the first call.

    There were two bugs: firstly, instead of rejecting postcodes not being serviced, they went to all the trouble of putting in every suburb for every postcode, then they employ a (small?) bunch of people whose only job is to scan the database for postcodes they do not service, and ringing any entries that come up to explain they do not service the area.
    The second bug is that sometimes when you fill out the web form, the whole job gets lost and it never gets into the database. Which is why the team scanning the database never saw mine, and never rang me.

    I’d like a 007 licence to strangle, please.

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