Customer Portfolios' Blog

Avoid Choice Overload

I love a good Ted talk and recently I’ve been watching a lot about choices and I’m seeing a pattern that applies to the marketing world and customer engagement. I was inspired to write this blog after watching Sheena Iyengar’s talk about How to Make Choosing Easier.

The average person makes 70 choices a day. From the minute we wake to the moment we fall asleep we are making choices. It can be a little overwhelming when you think about it and Iyengar’s studies show that when we experience choice overload we actually choose not to choose even when it’s not in our best interest.



This is a scary notion for marketers. We’re tasked with engaging customers to choose our products, brands, and offerings. We don’t want to push customers away by offering too many options. Iyengar suggests 4 techniques to mitigate choice overload.

  1. Cut the extraneous: the old adage is true; “less is more.”
  2. Concretization: Consumers make decisions based on understanding and feeling the consequence of their choice. Make it real and convey the rewards of making the choice to them.
  3. Categorize: Organize the choices and speak to the consumer. Iyengar found that customers thought they had more choice and made more purchases when 400 magazines were organized into 20 categories rather than 600 magazines that were organized into 10 categories (the latter being that real offer for more choice)
  4. Condition/Complexity: When presenting consumers with choices gradually increase the complexity of the choice. This leads to better engagement. Her example was for customizing a car. Customers presented with low-pressure decisions first held longer engagement and felt less pressure.


When you know your customers you can present offerings to them in a manner that won’t create choice overload and increase engagement. Coupling that knowledge with Iyengar’s tested techniques in your emails, website, and marketing campaigns will increase engagement and customer satisfaction.

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