Competition Marketing Positioning Restaurants Retail Sales Small Business Strategy

Do you paralyze them with choices?

We’ve all been in barbeque places that revel in the fact that they have 100+ barbeque sauces for their customers to choose from.

Have you ever looked closely at the bottles?

In most of the places I’ve seen this, very few of the bottles appear to have been used. Opened perhaps, but that’s often it. You don’t often find 80-90 of them 50-75% full, indicating widespread use. 

Cause: Barbeque Sauce Paralysis

The result is barbeque sauce paralysis. When you have 100 choices, it takes you longer to decide which one to pick:)

If having a selection of high-quality, rare or gourmet sauces is part of the attraction you want customers to focus on, 100 sauces might not help your case.

On the other hand, if you featured 2-3 sauces per week – people would likely take more of a chance because the restaurant could offer more info about the available choices. They might even discuss them on a special menu as if they were wines (“this bbq sauce has a slight nose of vinegar and basil with a well-defined cayenne finish”).

The problem goes well beyond barbeque sauce.

Differentiate with detail

You’ve heard me talk here about offering a premium priced option for your products. More value, higher price – because there is a segment of society that always chooses it (among other reasons). What you haven’t heard me suggest is that you offer 327 premium price choices:)

This is all about making it easy to buy, while still allowing yourself to differentiate.

For more on this topic, take 20 minutes to watch this video from Barry Schwartz, who talks at TED about the “Paradox of Choice”.

The key thing to take away from this as a marketer/business owner is that you can offer too many things and force your client to make no choice at all. The chaos of choosing from 100 sauces often makes you choose the Heinz 57 – a sauce you can get anywhere. 

Is that what you really want?