Why sell less with a large selection, and how to set it up properly

Clients don’t like a lot of options because they can’t make a decision. Not even a small one. So you need to set it so that it is just right. The store is full of emotional triggers. Some have a positive impact on shoppers, but of course they need reinforcement. Others have a negative effect that must be eliminated. However, there are factors that customers may feel anyway – it depends on the situation. One of them is the choice. Its lack, but also the excessive volume of customer pressure.

Customers don't like the small or big options

Lehits entrepreneurs know that too much choice makes customers uncomfortable. That is why they first choose what to offer them.

Therefore retailers must pay adequate attention to it, as it can fundamentally influence purchasing decisions in the store. This makes up about 80% of purchases!

Everyone knows that displaying one type of commodity will not satisfy the customer. We associate inadequate selection with the planned socialist management, when the shopper was happy that he did not leave the store empty after completing the hour-long waiting list. Therefore, many marketers are trying to achieve exactly the opposite, that is, abundance of choice. Surprisingly, customers don’t appreciate it very much.

“Instead of risking disappointment, the customer avoids the decision.”

American researchers Iyenra and Leppler studied how shoppers behave when the choice is expanded. If 24 types of jam were placed on the store shelf, 60% of customers would stop by, but only 3% would buy it. When the number was reduced to 6 types, only 40% of people stopped, but 30% bought them. How is that possible?

Why customers don’t like a large group

If a shopper has to choose from a smaller number, it works automatically. Goods that for some reason do not suit him (price, quality, configuration, etc.) will be excluded and one or two brands will remain. However, as the choice increases, he is forced to choose between a number of products that are practically identical from his point of view: they meet all the required criteria. Of the twenty-four jams, perhaps six or eight varieties will remain unselected. This is where the problem arises, as it sharply increases the risk of making wrong decisions. So instead of risking disappointment, the customer avoids the decision. Instead, he accesses a brand that he knows well ( See also the article Category management isn’t just great).

Procter & Gamble cut offer for Head & Shoulders shampoo from 26 to 15. Sales are up 10%.

So the point is that shoppers are afraid of the responsibility of making the wrong decision. One kind of on the shelf relieves him of such risks, but once again gives him the feeling that he is not free to make a decision. This is why the golden mean works best.

For a merchant, this means that he must select and place separate merchandise in some basic criteria. Different enough. For example, of the six types of jam, two are cheap, two are intermediate and two are more expensive. Moreover, it is necessary to distinguish according to the sugar content, fruit and the destination in the kitchen. So it’s not worth building three types of flour or sugar side by side, the difference only in the name of the supplier.

Clients follow other people’s decisions

Elsewhere, over-limitation in sales data can be eliminated. If three of the twelve beer brands have been sold for a long time and the others are far behind, you can reduce the number of strangers. They take up space, add work, and bring in almost nothing. After all, you can evaluate what sales they are falling for and how they differ from the best ones. You can also mark one type of merchandise as the best selling. Clients make other people’s decisions and are happy to follow them.

This brings us to the reasons why traders needlessly expand the offer. Sometimes pressure from suppliers can promise benefits and promotional materials. Often, however, the idea that the expanded selection will attract more customers and increase sales. As the results of the aforementioned research showed, the first one (increased customer interest) is correct, but it will not be reflected in sales or even decrease.

How to set the optimal selection in the store according to intuitive marketing

  • Instead of expanding the selection to a single item, add a category that you don’t already have in the store. Do not add two more types to the five types of yogurt with the same parameters, but you might add one more organic.
  • Clarify the criteria that customers use to choose this or that product. One of them is definitely the price, but that’s not all. Find at least two more.
  • If the offer is too wide, rate which of the offered assortment is selling well and what is bad. Then get rid of the merchandise that doesn’t interest you much. However, don’t advance in an automated way, so that you only have one category left – for example, only inexpensive merchandise. It is possible that if you remove three of the four more expensive products, there will be more interest in the rest.
  • If you are limited by space (which is almost everyone), try to encourage selling the existing range rather than expanding your selection.
  • Have a dialogue with clients and use the information obtained in this way. This way, you will simply discover which interest and commodities will be useful to expand the selection and where to narrow it down.
  • Evaluate all steps according to sales.

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