Paradox of Choice

paradox-of-choiceI recently came across 2 articles that dovetail together. The first is an older New York Times piece that covers the psychology of “the paradox of choice”. The basic premise: although the presence of choice and having lots of options has long been viewed positively by both retailers and shoppers alike, in reality there are many people who find more and more choice to be paralyzing. Within this article is a brief synopsis of a fascinating jam study where reserach results showed that shoppers who were offered less choices actually purchased more jam. It’s definitely worth a read — and a topic for all retailers to consider.

The second link below deals with merchandising craft beer. Talk about choices! If you are a craft beer fan like me, you can get completely lost trying to choose your next six-pack from the vast, dizzying array of breweries and styles of beer displayed on store shelves. Now I’m not suggesting here that this selection should necessarily be reduced (although I have seen cases, pun intended, where that could be beneficial). Instead this article points out a few key ways in which stores can help shoppers:

  • featuring and isolating local craft beers (particularly effective for millennials)
  • using attractive displays, featuring informational/educational signage
  • highlighting in-store employee expertise

Similar to effective wine merchandising, the overall message here is to emphasize the beer shopping experience. Take advantage of the social and conversational aspects that go hand-in-hand with the craft beer movement. And, of course, always look for cross-merchandising opportunities within your beer aisle or department. For more ideas, check out our wine and beer racks and display fixtures.


NY Times: “Too Many Choices: A Problem That Can Paralyze”

Supermarket News: “Which Craft Beer is Right for My Consumer”