Giving your customers too many choices may be costing you sales.

Yep, it’s been proven.

I have personally experienced this a few times, if you think about it, you might have too.

Some time ago I got a free subscription to a music streaming service for a year with a device I purchased.

I was excited at first. I was getting access to whatever I wanted to listen to. However, I soon realized that I spent longer searching for what to listen to than I did listening to the music.

A few weeks later, I had stopped using the service all together.

The Art of Choosing: The Famous Marketing Study About Choices

In 2000, Sheena Iyengar conducted a study using jam. On one occasion, they offered customers of an upscale grocery store 6 flavours of jam and at another time 24 flavours.

What they found was that when they offered 24 flavours, more people stopped to taste (60%). You would think that giving more flavors is a good thing then. However, only 3% of the people who were offered 24 flavours bought jam, compared to 30% of people who were offered 6.

Here is Sheena on the TED Stage

Some scientist have dubbed this, decision paralysis.

Other studies have also found that, when people have too many choices, they tend to be less satisfied with whatever they chose.

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Apple Music Tells You What’s Best For You

One of the brands that do this very well is Apple, they make decisions for their customers and offer them less choices.

Remember how I said I had stopped using the music streaming service because I spent too much time using searching for what to listen to than actually listening.

A few months later, Apple Music launched.

The difference is that, Apple chooses your music and updates it according to your listening preferences and I love it. You can still search, but the suggestions are personalized. All I have to do, is press play.

You see, music lovers know what they want to listen to. Dabblers like myself get confused with so many choices. Either way, giving too many choices doesn’t help either group.

Apple Music Limited Choices

Apple Music, Mobile Layout

Key Takeaways for Businesses

More choices aren’t necessarily a good thing. The default answer to any complication is NO.

So if you want people to take action, reduce the number of options you give them. Whatever those choices might be.

This means, fewer buttons and banners on a website, fewer social media sharing options and fewer listed products or services.