Although it wasn’t always the case, the general idea for businesses today is to give customers as many options as possible because that’s what they demand. Is that what they actually want, though? It’s exciting to have a variety of options to choose from (like forty different kinds of pasta sauce), but there is something to be said for simplicity.
Here we will consider both sides: Should you offer fewer options for your customers, or as many as possible?
Letting Them Decide
There is actually more to this than it seems at first glance. It’s one thing to have a store, online or otherwise, that sells a wide variety of products which are not of the same type; but it’s something else to specialize in one type of product and offering many different versions of it.
For instance, you might have a website that sells iPhone cases in 10 different colors. When you provide this selection, you are letting the customer select the one that they think is best for them.
That seems like a great way to offer your products—it is nice to have a lot of options—but there’s one thing that might make you think twice about giving your customers so many choices: It can actually be stressful for them.
The Burden of Many Options
In our present-day, consumer-driven society, all kinds of businesses clamor for the attention of potential customers, and in doing so, they have increasingly been offering a larger variety of options to appeal to demand.
Contrary to popular belief, people may actually be more likely to buy if they have fewer options. In this case, the seller is essentially narrowing-down the decision for the customer, relieving the stress of considering numerous possibilities and making it easier for them to select an item. The result? More sales.
When there are less options to choose from, more browsers convert to paying customers. That’s the theory, and you can judge for yourself if it actually holds water. Follow the link at the end of this article to hear the TED Talk that provides some evidence for this claim.
Less is More, and Simplicity is Better
How many options you give your customers really depends on your particular market and what you’re selling. At the same time, the principle of, “Less is more; simplicity is better” rings true in so many fields of business.
It’s this principle that causes many small businesses—traditional services and online service providers, alike—to utilize a multi-tiered system. This way, customers can simply choose from either “Good”, “Better”, or “Best”, where all the little decisions in between are already made for them.
This idea has been around for decades, and the discussion still ends with a question: How many options should you offer your customers? Should you provide a couple of basic options for them to choose from, or a comprehensive selection of products to cater to the insatiable appetite of today’s discerning consumer? A business owner can either leave all the choices up to the buyer, or make most of the choices for them.
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“Decisions Decisions Decisions”, TED Radio Hour: