Too Many Choices - Dont Confuse Your Customers

Conventional wisdom is that the more choices customers have, the more likely they will buy. That may be true when customers have very specific wants or needs, and they know what those wants or needs are. However, often having lots of choices just confuses customers and they don't buy anything.

One company tested this idea this way: They put 26 flavors of jams and preserves on a table. Customers could taste any or all of them, and if they made a purchase they got $1 off. People circled and chatted, but they didn't buy. There were more choices than they could effectively process, so they withdrew.

Later, the company repeated the exercise with just six flavors. This time, people sampled and they bought. After all, isn't it easier to make a choice between raspberry and grape than it is to choose from among red raspberry, golden raspberry, black raspberry, golden red raspberry . . .well, you get the idea.

If you find that your customers are knowledgeable and opinionated, and they want lots of options available, you can offer choices while still making it easy for the undecideds. Offer a "standard" or basic product that meets most customers' needs. Make options available, but package some of the most popular options together. Car manufacturers do this, for example. Bundle products together so that customers don't have a lot of decisions to make, and they will appreciate how easy it is to buy from you.

Somewhere between Henry Ford's, "You can get it in any color, as long as it's black," and today's trend of too many choices, will be the level of choice your customers find comfortable. Find that level and you've found your customers.

Copyright Cathy Stucker. As the Idea Lady, Cathy Stucker can help you attract customers and make yourself famous with inexpensive and free marketing ideas. Get free marketing tips, articles and more at

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