I did a quick supermarket shop yesterday. We needed jam so I meandered along to the jam aisle, and there I stood, for what seemed like hours, bewildered by the choice in front of me. Did I want raspberry, apricot, strawberry, boysenberry, blackberry, blackcurrant, cherry, plum, sweet tangelo or 3-berry jam? Did I want reduced sugar, lite or normal jam? Did I want 320g, 355g, 455g? Anathoth, Craigs, Barkers, Select, Delfour, Roses or Homebrand? I tell you, there were 83 choices of jam in that jam aisle. And it was 80 choices too many.
Sometimes, giving a consumer choices is a good thing. Other times, it’s just confusing and overwhelming. I went home without jam yesterday. I wasn’t in the mood to loiter in the jam aisle forever, chewing over what choice would suit my family best. Like most consumers, if the buying process seems to laborious or taxing, I’m out of there (well, not when it comes to big-ticket items like cars or houses; but grocery items, yes). There’s a reason those 1-day sites are so popular: 3 choices a day, no more. As a consumer it’s far easier to make a choice when you have three options than it is when you have 83. Tried to choose a paint colour lately? 50 shades of blue-grey is enough to make your eyes spin and brings you no closer to a decision!
Sometimes, less is definitely more. You know how you go out to dinner and there’s too many meals on the menu and you get overwhelmed and flustered and can’t make a choice? The best restaurants can fit their menus onto one A4 sheet of paper – they know to limit the choice of dishes, to help customers be quick and well-informed with their decision. It also makes things more efficient for the restaurant. The next time you do an email campaign, choose just a few hero products or promos to highlight. Don’t put all your offerings in there – edit back and just choose a few. You’ll get more of a result. Make it easy for your customers – keep it simple. (And let me know what jam I should be buying!)