The Paradox of Choice with ValueMags


ValueMags is a company that offers customers all kinds of magazines from fishing and hunting to news and politics. They offer the choice between hundreds of issues to choose from. But with all that choice comes confusion. Have you ever been in a grocery store are became paralyzed with all the choice of wine for example? We are living in an age of too many products and it is making the consumer confused on which one to purchase.

There has been research done in consumer behavior, which is known as the jam experiment. One weekend, they offered customers of these grocery store twelve different jams to sample. This is bound to attract attention since but as soon as customers tried a few kinds, they surprisingly did not convert that much. This is due to the fact that there are too many to try and decide upon. The next weekend there was only four different jams. Less people were drawn to it but there were more sales since they had the chance to try them all and make a confident decision.

For companies who want the best of both worlds, which is the attraction of all the choice and high rate of conversion, there are things they can do. ValueMags has done this perfectly on their website. Instead of listing all of their magazines on one long page, they separated the magazines by topic to give customers a better time to decide what they want. Once they have decided on a topic, all of the names of the magazines are listed within each topic with the price. It is very straightforward. Just imagine going through the hundreds of different magazines and trying to decide which ones you want to order. It would be too time consuming leading people to abandon their search.

This concept can be used with all kinds of products. Say we go back to the jam study. If the jams are separated into flavors like sweet, bitter, and sour, people will have a better time to decide what they want for themselves. Next time you are faced with this situation, either online or in store, always refer back to the paradox of choice and present customers with the optimal layout to increase conversion.