Tag Archives: sales

More is Not Always Better.

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.

Have thoughts? Why not share them.

Building your business 101

It surprises me how easy it is sometimes to see other people’s problems.  Of course, since that’s what we get paid to do, I guess I’m in the right business.

I was talking to a business owner this morning.  He was complaining about the success of some of his competitors compared to his company.  He said he couldn’t understand what the difference was.  He did EVERYTHING the same way they did.  Yet they seemed to get more business than he did.

I listened for awhile and finally asked the question that kept running through my mind, “If you do everything like they do, why would I as a customer choose you?”  It stopped him for a few minutes.  I told him my point was not to be disrespectful, just to point out the obvious–

Build your business on what your customers want, not what your competitors are doing.  Yes, staying in-tune with them is important.  But, if they are already doing something, it’s too late for you!  You need to go and find out what your customers need that no one is addressing.

Further probing brought out that actually this business owner was still running his business like he did 10 years ago.  No clear business plan or marketing focus.  While his competitors had actually expanded into new services area, offered new products, and generally had tried to stay ahead of the curve.

I pretty much tell it like it is.  Good or bad.  So I told him, “you need to change what you are doing.  Look at what your core skills are and listen to what your clients have been asking for.  You need to get a recovery plan in place.  Only if you are willing to make some large changes in how you do business will your situation improve.”

I can’t say anyone faced with that observation is thrilled.  But he took it fairly well.  He knows there is a problem.  Now, it’s just a matter of if he will act on it.

We all have choices.  He can choose to be the mouse that stayed behind (Where’s my Cheese book reference) the mouse that starved but eventually made it, or the one that accepted the situation and decided to do something about it.

Stay tuned, I’ll let you know how it turns out.