Too Many Choices = Overwhelm. (Right?)

Filed under: Website Copywriting

That jam study everyone cites…

Ever since Columbia University's famous jam study (which concluded that choice can demotivate and prevent decisions/purchasing behaviors), it's been proclaimed as fact by many a website consultant that offering website visitors bundles is nearly almost always better than offering them a wide variety of individual add-ons, a la carte choices, and options.

Hold your horses though

While many people (including those who offer web design and strategy consulting) point to the jam study as proof that we should always simplify purchasing options for customers on our websites, some interesting research has found this may not always be the way to go.

Take a quick look at the thoughts of Tim Harford, and research of Benjamin Scheibenhenne, Peter Todd, and Rainer Greifeneder.

These astute gentlemen have actually struggled to find any true proof of the “choice is bad” effect—even when replicating the original jam study.

Today's takeaway

If set packages or bundles simply don't work well or make sense for your particular product or service, perhaps you don't need to force them to happen.

Do what makes sense, simplify when possible, but remember the “choice is bad” mantra of the past decade has been proven to not be a rock solid fact—despite it being beloved and spouted by consultants and web agencies around the world.