Customer Experience Fail: The Grommit

I’ve just had a perfect example of a great ‘bait and lure’ process, a complete and utter Customer Experience (CX) fail.

A week or two ago I came across an ad for the Grommit, a website selling cool gadgets, gizmo’s and designer stuff – nothing I need, just stuff you want anyway because it’s cool. I liked the ad, I liked the site after a quick glance, so I signed up to the newsletter. I signed up using my business email address,

Today I got a reminder from them, nicely worded, telling me that I may have missed the fact that they’d offered me $10 off my first purchase, an offer that was about to expire. It was a well structured piece of bait, luring me to come back and buy something – and like a good Trout, I took the bait. Back to the site I duly swam, and eyed up the goodies until I saw something that took my fancy – after perhaps 30 minutes or so of reviewing and looking through products for something I’d really like.

I added it to the cart, added in the discount voucher, and then saw the shipping calculator embedded in the cart. This let me choose my country of occupancy and my postcode, and calculate the shipping. Now that’s key at this point; some sites charge a large amount for shipping to Australia, unfairly so sometimes, so knowing what you are paying can kill the sale before it gets under way.


The Cart allowed me to select Australia as the shipping location

I duly entered the info and pressed the button, but nothing happened. Tried again, same result. Ookay, perhaps the first failure point, but not too bad. So I hit the Checkout button to continue, knowing I’d see shipping cost soon enough.

Now remember that I’ve already visited the site, been caught in the net, and signed up to the newsletter. The site should know me, it should know I landed from my custom email, it knows I’ve entered a custom code, and it knows I’m shipping to a certain postcode in Australia.

But despite knowing all of that, it asks me to register. First name, Last name, email address. Despite having entered this info once already, I’m back to having to enter it again. Great.

still need to know that shipping amount, and it’s only three fields, so I enter it again – again, using my Australian email address – although in a small sign of what was to come, the site helpfully asks if I meant ‘’, instead of ‘’…

I hit the button to register those details, and now I see the Shipping details. Oh, yes, I have to enter my name, again! Wahoo!!! Third time’s the charm, in goes my name, and my shipping address. The site helpfully lets me choose my country, postcode and address, before I move on to shipping method.

It’s at this point that the hook sinks in and I’m yanked out of my comfortable shopping experience. I’m told, helpfully and in glaring bold red error text, that “The shipping module is not available for the selected delivery country“.


Unfortunately, bad news was waiting for the Trout…

Just to put that failure into context, let’s look at this fully:

  1. The ad for the Grommit appeared on a localised Australian site.
  2. The site accepted my Australian email address for newsletter signup – it knew then that I was within Australia
  3. The site listed Australia in the shipping module within the cart – it allowed me to select Australia, and knew I had selected it.
  4. On the following registration step the site again knew that I was in Australia, with another entry of my Australian email address.
  5. The site knew on the Shipping address page that I wanted this shipped to Australia, and supported the Australian address in the fields it provided.
  6. The site asked me to register for the newsletter, failed to remember that or use it during the cart, failed to use it during registration, asked for my email address three times overall, and my name twice.

You rarely get such a nice parceled example of pure, poor Customer Experience. It’s hard to describe that feeling of frustration that hit me when I saw the message – there was frustration for sure, having wasted time reviewing the site, selecting a product, discounting others, skipping back and forth between emails and carts, entering details repeatedly, committing to a sale process, and then being rejected at the last minute. But there is also that deep feeling of being betrayed, of being promised something that was whisked away at the last moment in an attempt to hook you. That beautiful lure that pierced the lip of my customer experience and then left me high and dry, whilst the site makes off with my registration details.

Sure, the site did provide me with a link to a third party that may be able to deliver it for me or set up a fake US forwarding address, but that’s not the point.

This fish swam away as fast as he could. Just warning the rest of you fishies….