Shopper Wants Fewer Choices
By George Anderson
Georgi Davis wonders just how many varieties of lettuce are absolutely essential to have in the produce department. Like others, she sometimes feels overwhelmed by the sheer number of product choices that confront her when she walks into a grocery store.
Her husband, she writes in the St. Petersburg Times, loves to shop, so spending 10 minutes in front of the pickle section or olives doesn’t bother him in the least. She, on the other hand, would be perfectly fine if the store offered three types of pickles (dill, sweet or bread and butter) in one or two brand choices. By Ms. Davis’s reckoning she’s confronted by 10 brands and the varieties have gone well past her basic three.
The retiree and former schoolteacher writes, “Maybe all these choices are not really good for people. I know that when my husband and I are finished shopping, I can’t even remember what we bought for supper that night. We usually end up going out to eat.”
Moderator’s Comment: How is the issue of choice affecting consumers and retailers?
For us, the issue has not been so much that there are too many product choices but that there are too many me-too product choices. The ability to pay for
shelf space and the need by retailers to have shelf space paid for has resulted in extended sets of multiple brands selling essentially the same thing. This combination adds up
to boring and confusing — a deadly combination in retail. –
George Anderson – Moderator