Think the way to win more customers is to offer more options on your products and services? Surprise. It’s not. And, it can seriously hurt your business to continue down that path.
“The belief that variety is good is not always true,” argues Harvard Business School professor John Gourville in “Overchoice and Assortment Type: When and Why Variety Backfires.” The research paper, co-written by professor Dilip Soman of the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management, demonstrates that sometimes offering too many choices prompts a confused customer to “run to the arms of a competitor” with less complicated offerings.
According to Gourville, when consumers go to make a buying decision, they can be overwhelmed by variety and start to question if they are making the right buying decision. The end result? Consumers simply give up or go somewhere else. In a sense, the consumer is saying, “I can’t decide which product to choose from the many offered by Brand A, so I will choose from the one or two products offered by Brand B.”
From my own experience with ecommerce and clients I can definitely see that the large number of options available make it almost impossible to move forward. It’s always a challenge to balance the “cookie-cutter” approach” to the custom one. It’s something that I constantly wrestle with.
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