More choices do not make happier customers

Despite some 87,000 drink combinations offered by Starbucks, more and more studies are showing that a wealth of options does not lead to happier customers. Most marketers, however, believe that more options mean we’re more likely to find the perfect product.

“Having to make too many decisions can leave people tired, mentally drained and more dissatisfied with their purchases,” a recent L.A. Times story says. “It also leads people to make poorer choices — sometimes at a time when the choice really matters.”

When faced with a complexity of decisions, people naturally look for ways to over-simplify the choosing process. And even when we choose well, we often can be less satisfied knowing that perhaps somewhere out there was something better.

In fact, studies show that you can overwhelm consumers with “decision fatigue” to the point where they make a default choice, or none at all. It’s something to keep in mind when marketing products that are only slightly different than the competition, or from the other choices in your client’s product line.


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Robert Hyndman

can be reached at his Laguna Beach studio, 949.497.3179, or by using the form on the Contact Me page.
March 2009
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