3 lessons from COLES.

I am amazed by how many organisations make it hard to engage with them and buy what they are selling.

I went on to a Not for Profit site today with a view to making a donation to one of the appeals supporting the crisis in Nepal. What I found was that most of the organisations required a great deal of ‘mandatory’ information before a donation could be made.

I was happy to enter my credit card information and understood why they wanted my email address, street address and telephone number – but had NO intention of providing anything other than the credit card information. I ended up donating to the organisation that required the least information.

The others missed out because the additional information they required including my phone number was a barrier and this information should have been optional. The only reason I persisted at all was the importance of the cause.

On the subject of credit card payments, I recently went to a newsagency that wanted to charge me a penalty fee because I wanted to purchase two newspapers on my credit card. Not only did I not make the purchase, but I will never shop at that newsagency again and told at least 5 locals the story.

Not only did they create a barrier to purchase, but they created a deal of bad will.

I was in a coffee shop recently where it was necessary to order at the counter. When the waiter came to clear our table, I asked for the same again, holding out the cash. She refused to take the order, saying that I had to order at the counter.

Not only did I not order at the counter, I have not been back to that coffee shop or any others in the group. What is more I have told the story – with names – to several business people. This coffee shop created a barrier to purchase – but why – to save a few dollars on staffing costs?

I recently visited an online digital equipment retail site and found it impossible to navigate and make a transaction. It was complicated and not at all consumer friendly.

I recently visited an online store for musical instruments that required every transaction to be verified rather than instantly processed through a payment gateway. Not only will this cost the retailer more – but it will stop me and many others using it.

The other day I noticed that my NETWORK site required all people joining to become Pay Pal members rather than simply being able to use their credit card. This is now being changed with a view to eliminating all barriers to purchase.

I see no sense what so ever in barriers to purchase and recommend that all businesses make transactions:

  • As easy as possible to make
  • As pleasant as possible to complete
  • As engaging as possible.

Not only should barriers be eliminated, but all processes should be reviewed regularly with a view to making each and every purchase as easy as possible.

Consider for example the approach of COLES:

  • Just about every payment option is available.
  • You can buy easily online or offline.
  • There are no transaction limits.

I once purchased something from Officeworks, but did not have the 50c in change. The service person said – put it on your credit card. The good will flowing from this to me, and now to others by way of this article was significant.

The fact is, it is rarely the case that people have to buy your product.

Further, I would argue that many of us take the path of least resistance.


  1. Maximise the options for buying.
  2. Maximise the ease of buying.
  3. Eliminate all barriers to purchasing.

To learn more about this and related issues – click here –

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