Purchase Paralysis

Purchase Paralysis

“We created too many variations on our Bowflex® home gyms, and it ended up confusing consumers. What happens when they have too many choices? They don’t make any decisions.”
-Ron Arp, Nautilus, Inc.

Once a high-flying leader in home fitness equipment, Nautilus has gone back to basics, streamlining its product line. It also is reducing the number of sales channels to eliminate overlapping marketing efforts. Consumers saw Bowflex gyms appearing in infomercials, being sold at specialty fitness retailers and showing up in aisles at Costco. Myriad variations in features, model designations and pricing all contributed to the ultimate cost of confusion: no sale.

But Nautilus is not alone in learning this tough lesson. From the grocery aisle to the fast food menu board, some of the world’s largest conglomerates have realized the danger of having too many product choices. They’re figuring out that you and I don’t have 10 minutes to spend deciphering the differences among six kinds of Crest® toothpaste, five formulations of Old Spice deodorant or four types of Pantene hair spray to figure out what replaced the one we used happily for years. Now I buy whatever brand has the fewest products to choose from, so long as it does the job.

For another quick-read perspective on the risk of too many choices, check out this post by Derek Sivers, founder of CDBaby.

Bottom line – cut your options and cut your Cost of Confusion.

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