“Entities should not be multiplied beyond necessity.” – William of Occam
“Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler.” – Albert Einstein
Barry Schwartz wrote entertainingly about the beauty of making choices as simple as possible. In his book The Paradox of Choice, he describes several theoretical experiments where consumers are presented with choices which have smaller or larger numbers of choices. The conclusion is that in many cases, presenting more choices not only complicates consumer choice, making business less efficient, but in many cases actually leads to significantly lower sales – making choice too difficult, means that consumers choose to do nothing!
Some recent real examples from retail, confirm these findings (thanks to www.neurosciencemarketing.com for drawing my attention to this). Walmart and P&G have separately experimented with reducing their number of offerings (examples are in Peanut Butter and Soap) with the result of significantly increasing their sales (in some cases by more than 20%).
We know that the brain loves simplicity, and we all know that in our lives we crave simplicity, and these examples show that in business, more often than not, less is very much more.
The Paradox of Choice by Barry Schwartz (2007)