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Too many choices

More choice doesn't mean more sales.  Instead, it often frustrates customers and sends them to a competitor.

Canon offers 20 models of small digital cameras. How different can they be?

Dell offer 6 lines of consumer laptops in 14 variations, every one customizable beyond the 4 choices they suggest.  (Plus business, small business technical, and ruggedized lines.)  Apple has S, M, and L.

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It's getting too hard to shop. We have too much stress in our lives. So what do we do — we chose the company that makes the choice easier.  It's not worth the mental anguish of figuring it out, and then worrying that we made the wrong choice. 

Before you plan your next new product or line extension, ask: Would we sell more if we removed a product?

Listen to Barry Schwartz explain via TED Talks:

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Comments

  1. Sebastian Franck May 11, 2009 at 8:39 am #

    This sounds right – except it probably isn’t. More choice equals more sales:
    http://www.marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2009/04/a-modicum-of-sanity-on-choice.html
    But we certainly could do more to HELP our customers make the right choice.

  2. John Hyde (Christchurch) May 11, 2009 at 2:03 pm #

    I got really stuck on a camera site last year. I wanted to spend about $200.
    I found a great brand-name camera with all the features I wanted for $189.
    But the site kept trying to upsell. I could get more megapixels by spending another $15. Fine. But then I could get a special stabiliser feature for just another $10. Great. And a better zoom for another $25.
    Soon I was looking at nearly $400. I had spent too much time and started to feel uncomfortable about the whole thing. I quit and got on with some housework jobs. A week later I bought a camera for $199 in a store.

  3. RichardYork May 11, 2009 at 8:30 pm #

    Agreed. More is not always better. Just go to your local r/x, and check out the choices in the bandaid or toothpaste section.

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