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ref: 89db8a0db3b15ad1a131b443ccfe2a0d5f08170a sive.rs/site/jam -rw-r--r-- 4.3 KiB
89db8a0d — Derek Sivers formatting 4 months ago
                                                                                
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<title>Customers given too many choices are 10x less likely to buy | Derek Sivers</title>
<meta name="description" content="For 10 years, Columbia professor Sheena Iyengar has been studying choice.  For her research paper, “When Choice is Demotivating”, they ran a great test:">
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<div class="blogparent"><a href="/blog">Articles</a>:</div>
<h1>Customers given too many choices are 10x less likely to buy</h1>
<small>2009-06-21</small>
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<p>
	For 10 years, Columbia professor <a href="https://sheenaiyengar.com/">Sheena Iyengar</a> has been studying choice.
	For her research paper, “When Choice is Demotivating”, they ran a great test:
</p><p>
	They set up a free tasting booth in a grocery store, with six different jams.
	40% of the customers stopped to taste.
	30% of those bought some.
</p><p>
	A week later, they set up the same booth in the same store, but this time with twenty-four different jams.
	60% of the customers stopped to taste.
	But only 3% bought some!
</p><p>
	Both groups actually tasted an average of 1.5 jams.
	So the huge difference in buying can’t be blamed on the 24-jam customers being full.
</p><p>
	Lessons learned:
</p>
<ol><li>
	Having many choices seems appealing (40% vs 60% stopped to taste)
</li><li>
	Having many choices makes them 10 times less likely to buy (30% vs 3% actually bought)
</li></ol>
<p>
	Surgeon <a href="http://atulgawande.com/about/">Atul Gawande</a> found that 65% of people surveyed said <em>if</em> they were to get cancer, they’d want to choose their own treatment.
	Among people surveyed who really <em>do</em> have cancer, only 12% of patients want to choose their own treatment.
</p><p>
	So, if you ask your customers if they want extensive choice, they will say they do — but they really don’t.
</p><p>
	I recommend the book “<a href="/book/ParadoxOfChoice">The Paradox of Choice</a>” if you’re interested in this.
</p>
<h4>
	Where does this not apply?
</h4>
<p>
	In “preference matching” contexts, <strong>where people come looking for something they already know and prefer</strong>, extensive selection increases the likelihood they’ll be successful in their search.
	For example: a menu at a Chinese restaurant.
</p><p>
	Many tests have shown that <strong>when people are given some choice versus none</strong> (choosing between six possible activities versus being assigned an activity), having some choice increases motivation and enhances performance.
</p>
<h4>
	How do we use this info?
</h4>
<p>
	Online stores often offer too many choices on their front page.
	Lists of dozens of new arrivals, top sellers, sale items, and categories.
</p><p>
	Artists showcasing their art (music, essays, photos) often present a giant list of everything they’ve done.
</p><p>
	But all of us could come to these conclusions:
</p>
<ul>
<li><strong>
	Only present 3 to 6 choices at a time.
</strong>
	No less than 3.
	No more than 6.
</li>
<li><strong>
	Only show your deep selection when people are searching for something specific.
</strong></li>
</ul>
<p>
	My favorite example of this is Firefox’s <a href="http://kb.mozillazine.org/About:config">about:config</a> feature.
	There are hundreds of intimidating options that are hidden from most people, but there for the few who need them.
</p>
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