Limited ChoiceOpen Access

Limited Choice

We’re more likely to decide when the options are sensibly restricted

Though some choice aids decision-making, too much of it leads to regret, deferral and lower satisfaction.

Chernev, Böckenholt & Goodman (2015). Choice overload: A conceptual review and meta-analysis. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 25(2), 333-358.

The study

Setup

249 supermarket customers were invited to one of two tables, displaying either 24 jams or 6 jams. They were then asked how attractive the jams were and observed as to whether they bought one.

Results

The results found that though customers considered the 24 jams more attractive, they were far more likely to buy when there were only 6 jams to choose from.

Study graph

Key Takeaways

Reduce choice difficulty. If customers are time-poor, reduce the number of dimensions along which your products are compared. Present choices in an organised, non-random order, especially with visual layouts. 

Takeaway image

Tidy up choice relationships. Highlight one dominant option, align the attributes along which products are compared, and eliminate products from your range that overly complement each other to decrease deferral and increase purchase likelihood.

Takeaway image

Adapt to product expertise. Who is your audience? To what extent can they weigh up the benefits of each possible choice? Experts prefer more choice and the lesser-informed crave less.

Takeaway image

Build around intent & focus. Intent: are they buying or merely browsing? If browsing, they’re not making a decision, and are less likely to feel overloaded. Focus: a single purchase or a bundle? Bundlers want more options, but Singles want fewer.

Takeaway image
Limited Choice

Limited Choice

We’re more likely to decide when the options are sensibly restricted

Though some choice aids decision-making, too much of it leads to regret, deferral and lower satisfaction.

The study

Setup

249 supermarket customers were invited to one of two tables, displaying either 24 jams or 6 jams. They were then asked how attractive the jams were and observed as to whether they bought one.

Results

The results found that though customers considered the 24 jams more attractive, they were far more likely to buy when there were only 6 jams to choose from.

study graph
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In detail

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Limited Choice
We’re more likely to decide when the options are sensibly restricted

Join us as we dive deep into one of the key paradoxes of modern consumerism.

We'll explore:

• The theory behind why choice is so important, yet also the pitfalls from too much of it
• Brand new research that pushes our understanding further
• How to redesign choice with real world before and after examples

As normal, it'll be highly interactive, so join us for the fun. It's your choice!

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Limited Choice
We’re more likely to decide when the options are sensibly restricted
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