From data plans to toothpaste to headache medicine, most categories operate as if more choice is better than less choice.
But if you’re actually a shopper with a headache in a headache medicine aisle, the only thing a complicated product assortment will do is make your headache worse.
As Scott Galloway put it recently (echoing Barry Schwartz’s 2004 classic, The Paradox of Choice):
“One of the biggest mistakes we make as marketers is that we assume choice is a good thing. Choice isn’t a good thing. It’s a tax. We don’t want more choice. What we want is fewer choices, but to be more confident in the choices presented.”
Companies ranging from Coca-cola to Mondelez to McDonalds to Mattel are starting to use the pandemic as a time to rationalize their product lines. Some of these efforts began as an attempt to reduce supply chain complexity. But this has the potential to lead to a more curated product experience.
In the constant drumbeat of new line extensions, sometimes the best innovation is to offer less.
Here are a few related cartoons I’ve drawn over the years: