Too many choices, in general, can be quite distracting and can turn off potential customers in any field of sales.
Why is this so? Well, the answer is really psychological, and it has everything to do with being overwhelmed by the choice. But doesn’t having more choices give you more freedom and flexibility, you might ask? Heatmaps and session replays could give you answers.
Don’t you get overwhelmed by a massive amount of choices sometimes? Try to think of the last time that this happened to you. Let’s say you went to buy a shirt. When you come to the shop, you are stunned by the number of choices that the shop is offering you. There are hundreds of shirts out there, but there is not really one that suits your style best; you might say “this one is better than the last one”, and then you have a change of heart and you end up leaving without a shirt.
Then you go to the next shop and they only have two shirts; the choice is much smaller and simpler, which means you decide in five minutes. You walk home with a nice shirt and happy that the decision was so quick.
This is exactly what can happen on your site; the user might get overwhelmed by the sheer amount of information and choices exploding from the screen, bombarding the user since the first second, and they end up leaving confused. Let us take a look at how you can remedy this and avoid falling into this pitfall yourself.
Number of Choices Tested
Boost Conversion with “Less is Better”
Reduce Options in All Aspects
Tip #1: Place Your CTA to the Right Place
Tip #2: Make Your CTA Attractive
Tip #3: Make Your E-mail Marketing More Detailed and Personalized
Tip #4: Sometimes You Should Have More Options
Tip #5: Content Should Be Quality
Sounds good? Let’s dive right in!
This was, in fact, scientifically proven by a Columbia University study, where they tested what effect might a larger choice have on customers and how it affects sales. A candy shop offered customers two stores: one had 24 flavors to choose from, and the other had only 6. They tested the users to see which shop would sell better and what effect would the number of choices has on customers.
The results were interesting. Customers who stopped at the 24 flavor shop only stopped to try the flavors, but not many of them bought any goods – in fact, only 3% of them did so. On the other hand, the 6 flavor shop had the same amount of customers, and 30% of them purchased something from the shop. A massive difference!
As we can see, having too many choices can decrease the number of customers, and that is because customers get easily distracted and overwhelmed by too much choice. But how does this apply to your site and conversions?Having too many choices can decrease the number of customers, and that is because customers get easily distracted and overwhelmed by too much choice. Click To Tweet
Sometimes less is better. This is the case, especially for landing pages. If this page has too many call to action (CTA) buttons, then it will hurt your conversions inevitably. For this reason, it is often advised to page owners to keep the number of options and call to action buttons limited to one. This would bring a boost to your conversions and make it clearer what your message is but also a more streamlined experience for users.
Having more choices on your site might cause an effect with buyers called the buyer’s remorse. This is what happens when too much choice is offered and a customer chooses one thing and instantly regrets it because they think that other choices are somehow better than the one they picked and might lead to sadness.Having more choices on your site might cause an effect with buyers called the buyer's remorse. This is what happens when too much choice is offered and a customer chooses one thing and instantly regrets it because they think that other… Click To Tweet
Another psychological trigger that happens with too much choice is analysis paralysis – this effect occurs when a customer has too much choice and then thinks too long before making the decision – he analyzes every possible aspect, possibly overthinks his choice and then ends up making no choice at all. Both of these effects can occur on your site as well.
It all begins with the landing page – it should have one call to action button which should be visibly seen and also have only the essential information on it. What you want to avoid is having too many things on the landing page, because this is where users get attracted to your site. So make sure that you put your most attractive content on the landing page, and one call to action button for a more streamlined experience to boost conversions. In case you have just asked yourself where to place it, you should keep on reading.
Every website and every audience is different, so you should A/B test where you place your call to action button. There are two options: you can place it above or below the fold. If your CTA is below the fold, you should use directional cues, which can be visual or copy based. Always develop a story to guide people to your CTA wherever it is. On a long page use multiple CTAs, but do not overdo it because that can be way too messy.
If you’re unsure about the placement, there is a solution for you called click heatmaps or website heatmaps. It shows you where your visitors click and also the frequency of it. With this, you can see what should be clickable and what shouldn’t. Using a heatmap is a great way to find out what your visitors and customers prefer. It’s like inspecting your website through infrared goggles. For example, a click heatmap can reveal the most frequently targeted elements of your page. In some cases, you can even separate different sources of traffic on your website and analyze them in detail without interference.
So after you have decided to decrease or increase the amount of CTAs then you need to find the best spot to place it/them. A scroll heatmap can show you where you need to place attention to grabbing elements to maintain the interest. With a scroll heatmap, you can tell exactly how long the content can maintain the interest of the visitors by analyzing their scrolling behaviors. If you put your call to action button to the wrong place, it will not reach your visitors, this way you will not increase your website’s conversion rate. A good tip to increase the scrolling distance is to place emotional attention-grabbing elements – such as faces of satisfied customers, celebrities etc. – where you see that a little “attention boost” is needed.
Website heatmaps reveal which parts of your website are best placed according to the attention of the visitor, what content, functions are in good or bad places, how does the user reach the call to action buttons. From the results you can draw conclusions to improve the web design, ergonomics, and usability of your website, so you can optimize it and make a significant contribution to increasing the number of conversions. Last but not least, use a design that stands out. How to do it? Keep on reading.
If you don’t see the expected results after finding the best place for your call to action, the work is not over yet! The placement might be perfect but your CTA is not attractive enough to click. With session replays, you can make sure that they see the CTA but don’t click on it. Session replays are maybe the most spectacular of all qualitative website analytics tools, which allows you to track mouse movements, clicks of visitors to reveal pain points in the conversion funnel. It’s like analyzing a video recording from which you are able to tell what a single visitor is looking for.
This is, therefore, a great opportunity since then the assumptions cease to exist, there is no need to think unnecessarily about whether visitors can use that page, feature, tool. There is no need to worry if they will be able to find the precious call to actions you have placed on your website. Just lay back and watch the videos and find out exactly what needs to be improved and where. Being able to replay a session and learn from it is invaluable. Once you find the perfect placement, you need to design your call to action button. It should be a color that stands out because it needs to grab your visitor’s attention.
Keep it simple! Putting images and arrows around it could be a mistake. Simple yet colorful buttons usually outperform the extremely bold ones. Bigger is not always better! Especially on mobile devices, unusually big CTAs might scare the visitors away from clicking. Let them choose!
Another example of this – having too much choice – might be seen in the way you offer social media sharing. On so many sites nowadays you can see share buttons that allow you to share content on social media. Well, the amount of choice as to how many social media options are present differs; but it is usually advisable that you offer only one or two social media sites to share the content on, and make the buttons more visible. This will increase the number of times your content gets shared. It is just like the candy store example mentioned above: if there are too many options, people end up leaving instead of taking action. Overchoice or choice overload is a cognitive process in which people have a difficult time making a decision when faced with many options. Make it easier for them and have less!
You should strive to do this on every page of your site, or as often as possible. On every page, blog post, site post, and even e-mail promotions and offers, you should strive to bring quality content and one CTA button. Let’s talk about e-mail marketing in more detail.
You might be sending e-mails to your customers to send promotions, or just to send them some articles, tips, and tricks or just some content to make sure that they do not forget you. It is a good strategy for conversions, however, you should make sure that your e-mails are actually worth their time so they don’t end in the spam or junk folders.
How to do this? You should aim to provide quality content in your e-mails, and the e-mails should be well-organized, streamlined and have a very clear message. It should deliver only one message, and this message should be clear and concise. Putting too much information in such a short message or e-mail can confuse the customer and this way, the e-mail will be on a highway to the spam folder.
So do not forget, quality over quantity! Receiving e-mails from companies everyday or even more in one day can be extremely annoying if they do not contain any quality content. Once again, make sure to send articles, tips and tricks, information about an important change or a new opportunity but do not waste your customer’s time.
Of course having too many options can kill your profits in certain environments, especially on landing pages, e-mail marketing, and your blog posts. But in some cases, having more choices can do a better job to streamline the choices down to a single choice.
Many people argue that more options equal more conversions. But these options should be presented in such a manner that they attract users, and the page should still have a clear goal. The content should be organized and really not become a mess that is just unappealing to anyone. Of course, it is good to have more options if you own an e-commerce site, for example. A good tip for such sites would be to narrow down a selection of products and maybe show fewer products on one page instead of more.
Having content in different forms can benefit your business. It’s no news that we are very visual creatures, and it makes perfect sense that more online platforms are switching to video content as their top priority. From Instagram videos to Snapchat, all the way to brands focusing on visually appealing, useful, and educational videos, your business should definitely follow suit.
It is also beneficial to be available on more portable devices such as phones and tablets. Search engines have quickly adapted their algorithms to reflect this need. What consumers want is precisely what they get – search results brimming with websites that are optimized to perfection to fit into the smallest screens ever made.
Of course, having fewer choices and a more streamlined experience is better for your conversions, but ultimately you should aim to have a good quality of content on all of your pages and e-mail or other promotions.
SEO optimized content is the one thing that will massively boost your conversions. Make sure that you have enough quality content to attract users and also keep the site optimized for search engines. Also, make sure that you implement enough evergreen ideas in your site design. These ideas are meant to be universal in the sense that they will work in a variety of different scenarios and will also be used in the future. There is no such thing as too many evergreen ideas, but anyone can get easily overwhelmed by meaningless content.
We have established in this article that having fewer options on your site might boost your conversion rates. There are multiple scenarios where this might be applicable. Let us take a look at where having fewer options would improve conversion rates.
For starters, you should have fewer options on your main page, or the landing page, where you should offer quality instead of quantity and also include one call to action button. Then, you should do the same in your blog posts, site posts and also your e-mail promotions and marketing.
It has been scientifically proven that having too many options might kill profits. This is also a proven technique in the CRO field where people strive to have quality instead of quantity and especially is that the case for landing pages. Every audience is different so make sure you analyze them in case you want to optimize your conversion. Your visitors and customers might answer all your questions if you take a close look at their scrolling and clicking habits. Hopefully, you have learned a valuable lesson in this article and we hope that you implement this idea on your site successfully to great effect.
Evelin Rácz is the Content Marketing Manager of Capturly, a full-scale online analytics tool which can provide online businesses with first-hand feedback and real business insights simply and intelligibly. Connect with Evelin on Twitter and LinkedIn.
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