Does a wide range of goods make us happy – or not?
There was a book published by Barry Schwartz, an American psychologist, recently called The Paradox of Choice. The book is really engaging and definitely worth reading. The basic message from the book however, is that the more choice that you give to people the more stress and anxiety that it creates.
Barry uses an example of a jeans retailer in his book. The retailer belies that by offering customers a wide range of all the different styles, all in a wide range of sizes, they would be delighted. However feedback indicates that the customer is bewildered by this choice. The process of deciding which pair of jeans is the best takes longer and creates doubt. Even after the purchase the customer is made more unhappy wondering whether they made the right decision, and whether another pair would have been a better choice.
The link is to a TED talk by Barry Schwartz on this conundrum.
Many of the assumptions made definitely ring true, and you have to wonder if we would all be much happier with less choice. Maybe less is actually more.