Art of Choosing By Sheena Lyenga #TMRE #MRX


Live blogs by @LoveStats of @Conversition. This is a session summary from The Market Research Event by IIR in Orlando, Florida, November 2011. It was posted mere minutes after completion of the talk. Any inaccuracies are my own. Any humorous side remarks are also my own. Feel free to leave comments and critiques.

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The Art of Choosing
Sheena Iyengar, Author, The Art of Choosing

  • Why do we want choice, What affects how/what we choose, How can we get more from our choices
  • When she asks a questions, “Only raise your hand if you want to burn some calories” :)
  • “The narrowing down problem”; “The three by three rule”; “Pointy headed intellectual” – All refer to the jam problem – Does the model of offering so much choice work? 348 kinds of jam and they set up a tasting booth for 6 flavours of jam or 24 flavours of jam. When did people sample some jam? 24 samples.  When did people buy a jar of jam? 6 samples. 6 times more likely to buy a jar of jam if they encountered 6 jams.
  • What happens during the act of choice? Experiment – choose a chocolate from 6 or from 30. A chocolate from a selection of 30 was less delicious than one from the sample of 6 and they were more likely to choose a cash incentive rather than a chocolate incentive. More choice makes you think you’re losing out on something.
  • Choice overload reduces commitment. reduces decision quality. reduces satisfaction.
  • Causes of choice overload – cognitive limitations, remember the magical 7 + or – 2. Beyond 7, we get confused. Can’t remember much beyond 7.
  • Sometimes you like choice. That rare song, that rare CD. Experts can simplify and categorize so you are less prone to choice overload. Chess board isn’t individual pieces but lines of attack, patterns, dump irrelevant options and focus on relevant ones. Retail world is designed for experts.
  • In market for car? Focus on price, luggage space, sunroof, brings decision choice down. But we can’t do this in every area of our life. Cars don’t scale to wine or rock music.
  • Customers demand and expect more choice.
  • Manicures – would you go if they only offered 5 nail colour choices. No, you go only if they have 100 choices.Can you
    Sheena Iyengar

    Image via Wikipedia

    choose between two colours of pink that are practically identical. She brought the nail polish to her lab and her colleagues thought the colours were the same.

  • Cause #2 – differences between the options are so small we don’t know what our preferences are even though we feel that we ought to. We don’t want to randomly pick something. It’s not what I want or need. It’s supposed to say something about who we are. These choices refer to whoam I? Given who I am,what should i choose?
  • Choice is not a solitary activity. You never choose alone. Every act of choice is an act of communication. i send a message to you. I’m unique and you can related to me as an individual.
  • #3 Act of choosing is a high stakes enterprise. It needs to express our distinctiveness form everyone around us. We are obliged to be we free.
  • This is a problem for choice providers. But more choice confuses and overwhelms. you offer a better choosing experience. People want to know they chose the right one.
  • 3 techniques that work. Cut. Less is more. Don’t be afraid of cutting shelf space. It leads to increased sales. How do you know which one to cut? Don’t talk to the managers. Ask the employees. If employees don’t the differences, customers don’t either. Focus groups will tell you if consumers can tell the difference.
  • If they are different, make the different transparent. Categorize them. Make it simple. Label it. Give the details. It’s a low cost technique. We can handle more categories than choices. Magazine aisles are good example. People don’t know how many choices are in each section. More doesn’t feel like more variety. 6 categories and 2 choices (n=12) feels like more than 3 categories and 5 choices (n=30) Category names should be useful for the choosers.
  • #3 Condition for complexity. don’t throw kids into calculus unless then know the basics first. We can handle more choices if we do it one step at a time. Gradually increase the complexity.
  • Start with low decisions. First offer choice in areas where there is only 2 or 3 options to pick from. Gradually increase to where there are many options.  People are more satisfied in the end. I get to start easy, i’m easing into the category, i’m learning how to choose. I want to do it by the end.
  • Apple – 2 computers, 2 options for each. People like this.
  • Cut, categorize, condition
  • These will help decision making, competence and confidence in choice
  • Can you apply this to your work life? CEO does 139 tasks a week. Most have subchoices. 50% of decisions made in 9 minutes or less.
  • Exercise for the audience. Jot down all tasks of typical week. Start cutting. Which should be delegated, redundant, extraneous. Where is the reward for each task greater than the misery? Categorize them. Where can i contribute the most value add? Those are your main priorities. Strive for excellence here. Make sure it’s not more than three.
  • Be choosy about choosing.
     
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