Did you know that giving customers too many choices can lead to fewer sales? It’s absolutely true. We talk a lot with our re-tool® clients about the importance of being known exceptionally well for a handful of solutions or services, because more is often not necessarily better and in some cases can even confuse a potential customer.
Say what? Shouldn’t lots of options be good? Isn’t that what people want–more options? Not exactly. It is called the Paradox of Choice and contrary to popular belief, too much choice can negatively impact your brand’s bottom line. Barry Schwartz, professor of psychology at Swarthmore College and author of “The Paradox of Choice” did a TED talk on this important concept.
Modern consumers are faced with a dizzying array of products/services. Someone with the simple goal of getting groceries is bombarded while shopping by thousands of items. Choice can be a good thing but in manageable doses, while excessive choice has been shown in numerous studies to result in consumer dissatisfaction, due to our limited capacity for processing information. Increasingly the scientific/academic communities as well as the marketing world, have been churning out studies that prove emphatically that more options are not always better and actually can result in lack of action at a point of purchase. Eh gads you say.
So what to do? Do you know what you sell? What’s your “widget” and your brand’s “onlyness”? I know those sound like really silly questions, but they are the ones you should know the answers to without hesitation. Is who your brand is and what you sell crystal clear? Or do you dabble in doing too many things or having too many offerings that you cannot explain the uniqueness of your brand and what you sell in a minute or less to anyone who inquires?
Competition is rife in all industry categories. Because there are so many choices easily available to purchasers nowadays, your brand needs to do more to stand out from the crowd. As a brand, you need to fully occupy and control your chosen niche. Ideally, your brand should reach a point where customers attach some kind of intrinsic value to your brand that they are unable to find elsewhere (the answer to “why” they should choose you over anyone else).
We have written about the importance of a brand’s “why” here on our blog previously (see earlier link). We even have an exclusive two day workshop built around it. Brand positioning can be tough, because it requires you to clearly and concisely define your brand’s WHY. Your brand will definitely end up positioned somewhere in the consumer’s mind, regardless of whether you pay particular attention to positioning it or not. Unfortunately, it won’t just fall into favorable placement swimming in a sea of competition. Brand positioning requires careful and deliberate thought and consideration.
The foundation for good brand positioning is knowing your customer and deciding what your brand does best. Why is your business better than others in a same/similar space? Pairing this with your ideal customer is key to unearthing your positioning unicorn. If you know who they are and what they want, then you should know why they come to you to meet their needs, instead of choosing another.
Making it easy for someone to choose your brand isn’t easy. Resolving the paradox of choice should be a priority for most companies and small businesses that want to design a customer experience that creates a feeling of satisfaction rather than one of overwhelm.
We live in a world of consumerism and endless choice. Don’t make your product or service offerings more complicated than they need to be. Too much choice can be perceived as a lack of confidence in your brand. Simplification is the way forward. Less is more, always.