Why too much choice paralyses your business

There’s an old adage, “you can never have too much choice”. Like most old sayings it’s starting to sound absurd, but many marketers still believe that giving customers more choice is always a good thing.

The truth is very different. Too much choice can paralyse your customers, slowing or preventing their purchase. Choice often engenders fear; the fear that you’ll make the wrong choice and regret your decision. Choice injects confusion, that nagging concern that you really ought to be weighing up all the options more carefully.

Does this coffee machine really need so many options? (and what lunacy tells us people need both Freshbrew and Fresh Coffee anyway?!):


Does 1&1 really need to offer so many different web hosting packages that customers are left dazed, confused and longing to have a little simplicity back in their lives?


Another web hoster, Squarespace, gets it right. They know that customers don’t want infinite choice, just a great product presented in the simplest possible way:


Choice: it’s a tricky little blighter. Too little and you narrow your market appeal. Too much and you completely destroy it.

Focus on your core strengths, on what really matters to your customers. Invariably, with concerted effort, too much choice can quickly be distilled down to the essentials, leaving you to focus on giving your customers a fantastic experience with your a narrower range of products.

And that’s where business success lies; not in giving so much choice that you appeal to every Tom, Dick and Harriet, but in zeroing in on what you’re truly great at and making sure you attract the type of people who will fall in love with what you do.

About Allister Frost

I'm a marketer who helps companies adapt and grow in our digital world. This site is the place where I share my thoughts about marketing, how it's evolving and what great marketers are doing. Let me know what you think.

Posted on May 31, 2012, in Digital Marketing, Marketing and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. So true… Way back when, we created a whole bunch of options for the Webservices team at Thomson Directories. A couple of days before the launch, we took the sales team out to a Chinese. There was so much choice, everyone ended up going for the set menu options. Observing this, we re-jigged the Webservices launch plan, and created a ‘set menu’. Worked very well :)

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