Less Choice = More Happiness

When your customers already know and like you, make it easy for them to pick by reducing their choices.

shopping-choice

If you’re as rich as Bill Gates you can do anything. Feel like flying to Tahiti? Queue up your jet and go. Can’t decide between shirts? Buy one of each, all of them, or the entire chain if you want. The possibilities are endless.

They are for you too, actually. Think of all the things you could do, right now, that you don’t.

From Central PA you can be in New York City, Washington DC, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, or Atlantic City in the time it takes you to go to dinner and a movie. Technically nothing’s stopping you – but you’re far more likely to go on a date in your hometown than explore somewhere you’ve never been.

Now think of your life in the eyes of a  favela kid in Rio. You can drive a normal American car from the Atlantic to the Pacific for about $400, which is only around four days’ wages for the average American household. You’re Bill Gates to Paolo, but you’re not happy as you imagine Bill Gates to be.

Why?

Because too much choice paralyzes us.

We’ve all stood wide-eyed in front of a shampoo wall at the grocery store, trying to pick the one we want. If Wal-Mart only carried one brand, the question we’d ask ourselves changes from “Which shampoo do I get?” to “Should I get shampoo or not?”  The latter is obviously a much easier choice, and we’d feel more satisfied after making it.

Woot.com takes full advantage of limiting choice. They sell one product per day and nothing else. You either want it or you don’t, no deciding involved. I’d never be in the market for a $150 onion knife but because it’s on Woot.com I at least considered it.

Think about reducing choice with your products and services. Once you’ve demonstrated value, change your customers’ question from “Which option do I pick?” to (the already proven) “Should I buy here or not?”. This is easy when you have a strong brand or a strong sales team. See Apple.

People don’t like to be told they can’t do something, but they’re less stressed out when they only have a few options. Help them out!

  • Janelle

    It’s interesting that the shift in thinking poses both questions “Should I get shampoo or not?” and “Should I buy here or not?” If we’re talking web and you have a visitor on your website, you’re in control over which question(s) to answer and how.

    I like this post! Makes you think about what’s going on in your customers’ heads and how you can help them make a decision on your products/services before they even realize they’re doing it.

  • http://www.webpagefx.com Xander Becket

    @Janelle Yep, you got it. One website that does a great job of limiting choice while answering questions is Brian Clark’s http://www.diythemes.com. He’s redesigned it since I last looked but there is a nice minimal design with a bunch of videos that really get the point across.

    And no top navigation! Imagine that 🙂

  • http://www.mcculloughdesigns.com/blog Joseph McCullough

    What you’ve said makes sense, but I’m having a hard time relating it to web design. Do you know if there any examples of websites who DON’T abide by this idea and some that DO? Thanks!