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Offer less choice to get more sales


Regular Anthill contributor Steve Sammartino published an interesting post on his blog this morning. Steve is in the process of tweaking the pricing model for his company Rentoid and relayed a nugget of advice offered to him by fellow entrepreneur Chris Pearson (founder of Skitch and Comic Life).

“The more choices you give consumers, the less likely they are to do any anything.”

This advice – while seemingly anathema to our free choice, no chains, ‘new economy’ culture – is spot on.

We think we’re doing our customers a favour by providing them with more choice – making the whole thing more about them than us. Surely they will reward us for being so thoughtful and providing them with so many options.

But the reality is that “customers”, while a coherent entity in your mind, are a loose collection of individuals, each with their own attitudes and agendas. Every additional choice you present them with increases the complexity of the purchase decision they are facing. Pretty soon the scales tip and it becomes easier for them to defer that more difficult decision to a later time… which often never comes.

As with many decisions in business and life, you’re better off using your judgement, instinct and, eventually, experience to settle on the right option, then remove as many of the other distractions as possible. If you miss the mark, you’ll almost always have a chance to tweak.

Photo: optimal tweezers (Flickr)