Sheena Iyengar is a full professor in the Management Division of the Columbia Business School. I learned of her work in Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink. Iyengar is one of the leading experts on choice, and how choice impacts our decision-making. She is also my new hero.
In her well-known study conducted at Draeger’s Market in Menlo Park, California, she conducted a study in which shoppers could sample jam. The sampling table had either six jars of jam or 24. You can guess which booth sold more jam, right? The booth with six jam samples.
Iyengar also conducted a study with Vanguard on retirement plans in which she found that the more retirement fund choices people had, the less likely they were to participate in the retirement program.
As marketers, we say, “Of course!” We instinctively know that too much choice can overwhelm and dilute the choice to the point where focus is lost. So, why don’t we apply this knowledge more often? And why don’t we apply it to our landing experiences?
We need to be familiar with this kind of academic research and how to apply it. The research has implications for how we bring products and solutions to market (e.g., Do we need three product models or 10 product models?). And as a post-click marketer, I am most excited about how it applies to user behavior on the landing experience.
Right now, we’re running some tests with an e-commerce client to pare the choices available in the online shopping experience. The client intuitively feels than nine product models are diluting the user’s focus. I think the client is right.
Now might be a good time to go take a fresh look at your landing pages and make sure you’ve eliminated any unnecessary distractions or overlapping choices and offers. Pare it down to the essentials for happier users and better conversions!
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