Case Study: More Choices Equals More Problems

Researchers at Stanford University conducted a study at a grocery store where they set up tasting booths that offered selections of jam for people to taste.

One table featured 24 different types of jam while the other only featured 6.

Here are the stats for tasting: 60 percent of people who stopped at the table with 24 jams tasted while only 40 percent of those who stopped at the table with 6 jams tasted. Why? My guess is the larger selection is more appealing and interesting to most people.

Here’s where things get interesting though.

Here are the stats for the PURCHASING (this is what we really care about) – Of the people who stopped at the table with 6 jams, 30 percents actually made a purchase whereas only 3 percent of people who visited the other table (with 24 jams) made a purchase. That means people were 10 times more likely to buy from the table with less choices….ten times!

Imagine if you could increase your amount of sales by that much. Or, even if you’re not selling anything, image if you could just make people ten times more likely to comply with you. It’s a pretty amazing and powerful thing.

So what’s the takeaway?  People like choices and are attracted to them because it gives them a sense of freedom but too many choices will actually cause your target to freeze up and do nothing.

This has to do with cognitive dissonance which is a feeling that surfaces when you are faced with 2 or more choices and don’t know which one is more aligned with your true inner beliefs. You see, people like to act in accordance with their true inner beliefs and values. When they don’t, they experience overwhelm, anxiousness and general feelings of discomfort.

When you start giving people too many options, it becomes harder to decide and this causes the person to want to escape the feeling by not making ANY decision.

Realize this, every time you offer another choice or option, you reduce the odds of your target buying or complying right then and there.

Lack of choices also brings about a sense of scarcity which makes people desire things more. Remember, the less available something appears to be, the more the human mind desires to have it.

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