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Opinion and Insight

Less Is the New More

Do your customers really know (or care about) the difference between the 12 varieties of shampoo you're offering? Lab's Teodora Miscov explores

Less Is the New More

A common misconception is that customers are delighted by choice.

That if we give them more options, they’ll be more loyal and excited about checking out all we have to offer.

They’ll be reassured by the fact that we have not two, but thirty varieties of microwavable rice for them.

They'll be excited to learn all about each and every one of our 34 membership packages.

They’ll love having a hundred of options of toothpaste to choose from. Hit them with with the normal mint, double mint, very minty mint, less minty mint and super duper minty mint.

They’ll be delighted!


Nope. Not really.

The truth is that we are bombarded with an enormous amount of choice every single day.

So, what is the marketeers’ role in a world where consumers are faced with a myriad of options for each decision that they make?

Make it easier for them.

We have the responsibility of creating a better experience for our customers - and this is where behavioural insights come into play.

About 10 years ago, Barry Schwartz wrote a book titled ‘The Paradox of Choice - Why More is Less'. In it, he brought forth the thesis that more choice actually gives people anxiety and is counterproductive for marketing purposes.

You can go into it to get a deeper account of why this happens and how you can avoid it - but we’re here to share a strategy that we’ve been using time and time again. We know that it is easy to apply and, most importantly, it works.

Low friction categorisation

If you do have lots of options that you feel deliver value to your customers, you don’t necessarily need to cut them down.

Here’s the trick: create easy to understand categories. This of course depends on what you are offering, but it all starts with thinking about what your customer wants to get.

Gain some insights into what state of mind your customers are when they reach you and make it easy for them to quickly find what they are looking for.

For example, let’s say you’re selling holidays. When they reach your website, customers may already know where they want to travel to OR they might be looking to browse for experiences.

So depending on what you offer, your categories might look like this:

1. I want to go to...

- Europe

- Africa

- Asia

- North America

- South America

1. I would like to experience a...

- Beach vacation

- Quick city break

- Active holiday

- Adventure trip

- Cultural extravaganza

This is just one application of a behavioural insight that beeped loudly on our marketing radars.

These insights are invaluable, as they allow us to meet customers where they are and give them what they want.

Photo credit: MOMA. Art: Campbell's Soup Cans, Andy Warhol (1962).

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Genre: Digital