One Brand Many Things or One Thing Many Brands?

Boagworld explained to me today 10 techniques for an effective ‘call to action’. In which he wrote:

Studies in supermarkets have shown that if the shopper is presented with too many varieties they are less likely to make a purchase.

Many Pantenes on one single shelf
Many Pantenes on one single shelf

I am a bit skeptical about this “studies”, which I thought could be a conjured case, so I did some googling, leading me to an article published on American Psychology Association.

In the article there is my familiar jam/food/shampoo picking experience:

when shoppers are given the option of choosing among smaller and larger assortments of jam, they show more interest in the larger assortment. But when it comes time to pick just one, they’re 10 times more likely to make a purchase if they choose among six rather than among 24 flavors of jam.

And in an experience where 800,000 employees at 647 companies are given multiple choices about their retirement plan:

When given two choices, 75 percent participated, but when given 59 choices, only 60 percent did

While these two types of experiences remain true to my shopping experience in the supermarket and electronic store, I have also noted what I think is one important aspect of this choice situation: when I have something to buy in mind, especially those products that cost more than $500, I would have some criteria in mind. Fitting those criteria would mean I achieve the goal of buying the right product for use. I have recently bought my Canon VIXIA HV30, a very nice high definition camera. I didn’t go through all the available products on amazon like I would do in the supermarket, looking up and down, being afraid of missing any important product on the shelf. Instead, I just set up some simple filters to pick the features I want (Live Firewire Connection + HighDef), sort the price and read some reviews before I hit the checkout button.

That is explained by Nobel Laureate Herb Simon:

when consumer enters with an articulated preference, they often choose the first decent choice that fits their preference as opposed to exhaustively scanning all options until finding the perfect, or “maximizing” one.

Hope you’ve learnt something, I did.