Business: Fewer Choices Leads to Happier Customers

Do you ever feel overwhelmed by the number of options available to you as a customer? For example, you walk into the grocery store to buy a pint of ice cream, but you quickly realize there are over forty distinct flavors to choose from. You can try to scan and compare all of the options, but the process quickly becomes exhausting. Suddenly, a seemingly simple task turns into a very complex one. Oftentimes, in such situations, the customer leaves without purchasing anything at all, because he or she is too overwhelmed to make a choice.

Barry Schwartz, professor of psychology, dubbed this dilemma the paradox of choice.  Basically, when there are too many options, we are quickly overwhelmed by the decision making process, and often less satisfied with the option we choose in the end (if we choose one at all).  When marketers are aware of this common issue (choice overload, as it is sometimes referred to) they can much more easily accommodate their customers’ needs by slimming down the number of products they offer.

The ideal number of options, according to Schwartz, is between 3 and 5. Taking this simple but critical piece of knowledge into account can make you more successful in whatever it is that you may be trying to pitch or sell!

Contributor: Jordan Di Fillipo


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