Too many choices causes confusion

A recent study conducted in the United States and Europe has come to the conclusion that we have too many choices in our lives.
In both Europe and the States, the testing group gave shoppers a choice of 30 jams to sample, then watched to see how that affected the purchase of that particular brand of jams.
There was really no change in jam purchases.
Two weeks later, the testing was redone. This time, however, customers only were offered six different jams to taste.
The resulting follow-up saw an immediate spike of 15 percent in jam purchases of the samples offered.
The conclusion was that too many choices made buying difficult. Too much choice confuses buyers.
I began thinking about the results and the confusion I go through to pick a tie to wear to work. My tie collection has been growing since I began selling advertising in 1972. Seldom is a tie ever thrown out, and I have cycled in ties from narrow to wide to narrow again.
I have gone from solids to stripes to paisley to polka dot, and have in my collection every designer colour imaginable.
The tie collection is in the hundreds. And I have been gifted with ties from relatives who now choose never to wear the cloth necklace again.
At Christmas, I laid out my season-appropriate ties. I now have 24. And I arranged them in order from Dec. 1 through to Dec. 28—when I wear the tie with Santa and Mrs. Santa waving from a chair in a sunny tropical beach destination.
The tie I begin with shows Santa saying “Not again” (there is lots of humour in the tie selection).
But every morning, I go into the closet, pick out a shirt, and then gaze at the assortment of ties. It becomes the toughest decision of the morning.
What am I going to wear? Will it be the tie I picked up at the Sydney Opera House or one of the three silk ties I acquired from a street vendor in Seoul, Korea?
Will it be a solid bright red, blue, or yellow tie? Will it be the baseball player sliding into second, or the wild elephants of Africa?
My choices are endless. How am I feeling? Should it be a fun tie with the Disney characters from the Jungle book? Or should I pick Charlie Brown trying to make his computer work?
I am confused every morning. When men travel on business, most only bring a single tie to go with the suit and shirt they are wearing. Not me. I bring at least a half-dozen knowing that it is too difficult to pick a tie to wear in advance.
They all will be appropriate, but the tie will have to match my feelings on the day I am going to wear it.
Such is the demand of choice. Too many choices make it almost impossible to make a decision.
For instance, I went online to a showroom from one of the automakers. The first decision involved only picking from four options but the next asked you to pick from any one of 23 options.
So already I was at a choice from almost 100—and I still wasn’t into colours, interiors, motors, stereos, and all the other possible combinations.
Then I realized that in Fort Frances, the auto dealers really work hard to make the buying decision easy for their customers. They can’t possibly build and stock every potential unique vehicle.
Nor would a buyer really have the time to check out each vehicle. It would take them a lifetime.
Regularly you hear of people praising the selection that comes from reaching into big city malls for shopping. Yet very few shoppers go into every store to check every item.
Rather, they eventually narrow down their shopping to a few stores and the people they like to deal with, and walk by 80 percent of the stores.
They have reduced their choices so they can make a purchase. It is what the study found. If you reduce the samples or choices, people are much more likely to buy.
Confuse them with too many choices and they are likely not to buy.

Posted in Uncategorized