How Fewer Options On Your Ecommerce Store Improves Sales

The Wilkinson & Sons Jam Study: At a Saturday morning fair, two stalls were set up to sell different flavours of Wilkinson & Son's Jams. One stall offered 24 varieties of jams while the other offered 6. Surprisingly while the first table of 24 received a crowd of visitors, the second stall of 6, saw a greater percentage of sales. The study concluded that when customers are confronted with too many choices, they end up not choosing anything.


Let's say you have an online stationery store. You want to see an increase in sales. So you stock up on different kinds of paper with different kinds of color and material, along with a variety of selections for pens, pencils, and files.

Now you might be thinking, “My store has everything, so customers have a large number of choices to choose from. Obviously, they're going to buy a lot”. But this strategy may not work and here's why.

Shopping experience is all about making decisions

Do I buy this Jell-O flavour or that? Do I buy this dress or that? These are questions that are a constant in a shopper's mind. Giving them too many choices confuses the customer. This is because he wants to take the best decision, but he's not sure what's best for him. Too many products to choose from clouds his ability to judge.

Customers may not understand the difference in the varieties

Your customers may not necessarily know every variety of paper there is in your store. They may not understand the difference between certain kinds of quality , sizes or texture. As a result, they may not even understand why they're priced differently or why they need to spend more on certain kinds of paper. This again results in customers not making a purchase.

So the big question is how to improve sales with the right number of product alternatives?

  • Conduct a series of tests

Test if your sales go up or down by trying a different number of product varieties. You can try by first eliminating varieties that aren't doing well, and see if the sales go up. You can then again try by cutting down two or three options at a time and then check your sales. Check out what strategy increases online sales for your store.

  • Limit the social sharing options

You won't get your customers on every social share option you provide. So reduce the social share platforms and see if you are able to see greater shares on Facebook Twitter and Google +. Sometimes providing too many social share options distracts customers from sharing your content or products on popular ones like Facebook and Twitter.

  • Don't over promote in emails

The purpose of email marketing is to get customers to take a definite action that increases sales online. So over-crowding your email with too many products will confuse the customer as to what action he needs to take. Promote two or three varieties of a product and that's enough. This way you give customers alternative choices without clouding their ability to choose one. You can keep an attractive offer as well to nudge customers into making a purchase immediately.

Do you think your online store has too many options that are affecting your sales? It's time to downsize your inventory then. Follow these tips to find the right amount of choices that improve your sales performance. Let us know if these work well for you.

Need help managing product choices in your store? Download J2Store.You'll have access to a suite of features that provide you stock management options. You can maintain stock for product variations for any number of products easily.

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