Can Too Many Choices Be A Turn Off?

Who doesn’t love The Cheesecake Factory?  Most of my friends and family love The Cheesecake Factory and frequently suggest going there for lunch, dinner and sometimes brunch.  Don’t get me wrong, I love their food, drinks and of course cheesecake.  What I don’t like is their catalog of food.  I always try to mentally prepare myself before going there so that I don’t end up being frustrated.  I can never avoid feeling overwhelmed when I eat there.  The problem is that there are just way too many options for me.  I go in feeling like a Cobb salad and the next thing I know; I’m browsing through their entire menu and end up confused with what I feel like eating.  My first choice now becomes blah and I feel like everything else sounds and looks tastier.  And then to add more options, the server comes around and throws in the specials of the day. By the time she comes to take the order, I’m always the last one to order and end up settling on the first thing that comes to my mind!

I started to think about this and how relevant it is to any business.  Can giving your customers too many options become an over kill for them?  There are many customers that like hand-holding through the entire process, but there are those who are straight to the point.  The customer that will give you an outline of what they need and will almost demand 1 or 2 choices from you upfront.  And I can completely understand.  After all, we are the experts in our business.  In our industry we offer many different themed and scenic backdrops and get a variety of different requests.  We have learned to work with many different buyers that upon conversation we know what kind of service they need. Sometimes it is best to give your honest opinion about what direction might work rather than bombarding them with a dozen options and overwhelming them with your service.

As in my constant struggle with eating at The Cheesecake Factory because of the huge catalog of food they provide with many options, do you agree or disagree that having too many choices can sometimes drive a potential sale away?

Flickr photo courtesy andres.thor

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