How Do We Make Choices?

To give customers the feeling of control, you have to give them choices. Without choices people feel powerless and they are less willing to make a purchase. Sheena Iyengar is a professor at Columbia University and has done several experiments to discover motives behind choices.

One of these experiments is done with different jars. At the entrance of an A-brand supermarket is a stand placed with six different jams and the next day twenty-four different jams.

Two salespeople selling jam

There is more attention to the 24 jams, since 60% will stop, but the chance that people buy a jam is higher when their only six jams displayed. People couldn’t make a choice when they saw 24 jams and they walked away.

Quantity in Combination with Price

One misconception is that a large amount is associated with a low pricing. For products with low involvement (detergent, painkillers, candy) customers are willing to pay more for fewer options. For products with high involvement (mortgage, clothing, wine) offer many options to make sure that customers are willing to spend more. The presentation of products / services is important.


  1. Help customers to choose by providing expert reviews.
  2. Adjust the layout of your site / shop depending on your product.
  3. Differentiate your products into categories.
  4. Create logical funnels for your customers to reach a choice.

Translation to Internet

Don’t show eight options in your navigation, but four and another four after that. By offering fewer choices and leading them through a funnel , people feel like they have more choices.If you have a large assortment, you can segment products into categories. In the example of the jams, the women could divide the 24 into six categories. Customers can scan about 25 categories. In each category offer 10 choices. Otherwise customers feel paralysed and can not make a choice. had a page with expert reviews in the field of cooking. When expensive books were displayed above the fold(on top of a page), these books were sold relatively more. The context is important: few books and experts who advise the customer. Take a look at Google Insight to find out about your customers.

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My passion is combining technology and marketing to reach potential clients & retain current customers. Specialities: B2B, B2C, SMB, Social media, demand generation, brand management, analytics & customer insight.

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