Reduce options, increase sales

More choice is not always a good thing because it can overwhelm your customers and discourage them from making a decision.

If you offer a large range of product choices, especially if some of those choices are not immediately differentiated from each other; help customers by focusing their choices to fewer options.

I was recently on a cruise ship. Naturally they have multiple bars offering a myriad of drinks. They offer a Cocktail of The Day.

The range of available cocktails never changed, but the Cocktail of The Day really made the choice that much easier.

Similarly, the evening meals came with a thematic menu. Although one could order anything from the full menu, a pre-set, themed selection for the day helped to reduce the choice essentially to “I need to choose an appetiser, soup, salad, mains and dessert” or “I want the set menu.”

Websites that sell a huge range of goods like RedBubble.com and Amazon.com use similar techniques to help customers better access and make sense of their huge inventory.

RedBubble.com cyclically features work by different artists. at different levels on the site: on the homepage, and on each category page.

Amazon does it with their recommendations: if you liked X you may like Y; or people who bought X also bought Y.

The next time you are at the supermarket, have a think about why you tend to buy the same brand of toothpaste, shampoo, and so on. Could it be because it is easier than investigating one of the overwhelming multitudes of alternatives?

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