As a consumer, in-store and online shopping can be pretty overwhelming, especially if you’re faced with endless choices. As a business or brand owner, have you considered the notion that you may actually be losing business by offering your customers too many options? Let’s explore this week’s marketing trend: less choice is better. 

To Overspend or Maintain an Empty Cart? The Curse of Too Many Choices

Have you ever walked into Target to purchase a single item and walked out with a full cart of new purchases? If your answer is no, please share your self-control secret with us… Anyhow, with so many options to choose from, it’s simple to overspend on items you don’t need because you couldn’t settle on one decision. Whereas if you are able to settle on a decision, you’re likely to embrace the “grass is greener on the other side” mentality and convince yourself it was the wrong choice.

The other (increasingly common) scenario is that you waste precious time browsing comparable items, putting products into your cart only to take them out again, mulling over which decision is best, only to throw your hands up and declare that you aren’t fit to make any purchase decision at all. Thus walking out empty handed, confused and frustrated. What can business owners do?

Studies Show That It May Be Time to Simplify Your Marketing Strategy

AT&T said it best in their “We want more, we want more!” commercial where a little girl explains why more is better. As it turns out, more might not be better after all. Harvard Business Review reported on one remarkable study published by two psychologists that supports this, noting that:

“On one day, shoppers at an upscale food market saw a display table with 24 varieties of gourmet jam. Those who sampled the spreads received a coupon for $1 off any jam. On another day, shoppers saw a similar table, except that only six varieties of the jam were on display. The large display attracted more interest than the small one. But when the time came to purchase, people who saw the large display were one-tenth as likely to buy as people who saw the small display.”

This indicates that more choices may generate more interest, but less choices may generate more sales. As a business owner, which are you after?

Is Less Choice Really Better? The Company Brandless™ is on a Mission to Find Out

Picture this: Money is tight but you’re at the store because you need to buy a new bottle of face wash. You see your trusty brand on the shelf selling for $8, but right next to it you see the store brand version selling for $5. Side by side, you notice that they are the same size bottle decorated in similar colors. Hell, you even turn them around and see that the listed ingredients are exactly the same. Yet, you still walk out spending the extra $3 on your usual brand – why?

The new company Brandless™, launched on July 11th, is on a mission to transform and simplify your decision making process (if you let them). Following suit with “less choice is better,” Brandless narrows your focus by offering direct-to-consumer basic products for $3. Brandless defines BrandTax™ as, “the hidden costs you pay for a national brand,” and they want to eliminate it, nothing that consumers sometimes pay “up to 370% more for beauty products.”  

Brandless may just be successful at disrupting the Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) industry by appealing to those who need low-cost essential items (hand soap, face wash, cleaning supplies, pasta sauce, etc) but are too busy to spend hours in the store or online sifting through Amazon’s plethora of endless options. While this marketing trend/strategy isn’t ideal for every business model, it may be time to consider if narrowing your product focus could be beneficial.

When it Comes to Less Choice, Who Does This Marketing Trend Appeal To?

In general, this marketing trend appeals to business owners who offer a variety of similar products (but can’t seem to generate sales) and consumers who are exhausted by the decision making process. The catch? Convincing consumers to abandon the choices they’ve grown to love/hate (and ignore that brand-centric FOMO that kicks in as a result) is no easy feat. The reward? This simplified marketing concept could minimize stress and wasted time while generating more financially satisfying purchases, for both the consumer and business owner.

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