Choice is a good thing—and the more choices you give consumers, the better, right?  Wrong. There are a lot of reasons why giving your customers less choice will actually result in more sales. It’s a concept that we’ve baked right in to Manage Comics, and we have tested this time and time again, to find out that it works.

Too many choices can hurt your sales

Ever go to the supermarket for a box of cereal?  Sounds simple enough—until you get to the cereal aisle, that is.  Suddenly, you’re confronted by hundreds of choices:  sugary cereals, heart-healthy cereals, cereals with bran to help your digestion, kiddie cereals, adult cereals, gluten free cereals.  Do you feel good that you have so many options, or do you feel like running from the grocery store screaming, “I just wanted a simple box of cereal!”

The same applies to virtually every aspect of modern consumer life, whether it’s channels on your television, insurance carriers, internet service providers, salad dressings or new cars.  The point is, giving consumers a tsunami of choices makes it more difficult for them to choose.  As a result, they either hesitate to make a choice, or choose not to choose at all—and that can be a disaster for your business.

The “Paradox of Choice”

A paradox is a concept that seems to defy common sense but could very well be true—like the paradox about choosing.  Common sense dictates that the more choices you give consumers, the more products they’ll buy—but studies which have tested that theory have shown it to be false.

In one such study, for example, researchers presented two grocery store stands, both offering jam.  One stand had 6 jam options; the other had 24.  Common sense would say that the stand with more options would sell more jam, but the opposite occurred.  The stand with fewer choices sold more jam—a lot more—and consumers who went to that stand were 6X more likely to buy one of its products.

There’s a name for this consumer phenomenon—it’s called “the paradox of choice,” described here by Tech Target:

“The paradox of choice is an observation that having many options to choose from, rather than making people happy and ensuring they get what they want, can cause them stress and problematize decision-making. Barry Schwartz wrote about the negative consequences of having too many options in his 2004 book, The Paradox of Choice: Why More is Less. Schwartz maintained that an overabundance of options can actually lead to anxiety, indecision, paralysis and dissatisfaction.”

Why do consumers avoid choice?

It’s really not too hard to understand why offering consumers too many choices is a bad thing for sales.   Think back to the frustrated shopper looking for his box of cereal.  He’s not being asked to make one choice, but many.  He has to decide not only which cereal tastes best, but also which is the healthiest—and he has to decide which is more important, his health or immediate gratification, not to mention which health issue is most important—potential diabetes, heart condition or digestive problems.

That’s a lot to think about before you pour some milk into your cereal bowl—and it makes consumers anxious and frustrated.  More important, it makes them less likely to make a purchase.

So, what can you do?

The bottom line isn’t that you shouldn’t give your customers any choices.  Far from it:  the idea is to limit choices to a number your customers can manage, and which will best promote and sell your products.

At Manage Comics, we’ve discovered that the right number of products to showcase in monthly emails is around 150 carefully curated titles.  We could offer more from our database of more than 25,000 possible SKU’s, but our goal isn’t (and yours shouldn’t be) to showcase everything possible, it’s to increase sales.

If you’re a Manage Comics store, we invite you to use our pre-made emails, proven to increase subscriptions.  If you’re not a Manage Comics store, we invite you to think about the ways our services will boost your predictable, recurring subscription revenue.

If you’re not currently using Manage Comics, ask yourself “Are comic subscriptions the #1 generator of revenue for my store?” If the answer is no, then please, check out our absolutely free Manage Comics – Everything you need to know about comic subscriptions for your store guide today!

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