The downside of choices

It is stunning how we automatically assume that more is better. More money, more freedom, more choices, they all go as the basic foundation for the society we live in. You get promoted; of course you accept. Laws try to assure a maximum of market freedom, and even more choices are a direct result of this.

And whether it is figuring out which detergent to buy or bigger life questions like whether to get married or have children or not, we still tend to prefer the bigger supermarket where we have more choice.

Free market has resulted in “buying yogurt” just not being a simple task anymore. And we rarely ever find ourselves questioning this while on the long run it doesn’t necessarily make us happier. Barry Schwartz talked about this on TED:

I wonder if shops function this way: is bigger (and thus more choice) better or is small just not adapted enough? Could there be such a thing as a small quality supermarket?

Marketing wise yes, you put your prices a bit above those of your competitor, you hire somebody to keep your alleys cleaner and more organized than those of you competitor and you spread the perfume of freshly baked bread and your commercials can start spreading the word on how your brand is superior.

This often without the products in the store really changing. Meaning that sometimes the fruit at the cheaper competitor is still better and we actually find the same a brands for a bit less money as well.

How about building a smaller store with higher quality products. A selection of quality brands for a specified target group, real unpoisoned fruit and a french quality baker all wrapped into fluff of polite and helpful personnel, slightly more intelligent then elsewhere. I think we could call this a black hole in supermarket positioning, probably because it is lacking demand. We want big, we want choice.

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