Balancing selection and distraction

08Sep08

While in a store that isn’t exactly known for umbrellas, I saw a nice display with tons of different umbrella models. Sure enough, I needed a new umbrella, since my last one got bent in half by a crazy storm a few months ago. Anyways, I picked out the umbrella I wanted, and continued shopping for other stuff.

A few minutes later, I saw another display with even more umbrellas to choose from. They looked like the same ones I already looked through, so I ignored it. But this got me wondering: what would happen if the store put up a sign on each rack, saying something like “Find more umbrellas near the checkout area”? Would people heed that advice and possibly leave the first display empty-handed, only to get distracted by something else and never buy an umbrella in the first place?

With this in mind, I think the optimal approach is to use that sort of signage, but with a twist. Tell people where they can find more of the original item, in case the first display doesn’t have what they’re looking for. But also remind them to take the best match along for the ride. For example: “You can find more umbrellas near the checkout area, but don’t forget to take one with you right now. Our top models sell out quickly!” Granted, this isn’t a perfect example. But hopefully it will get you thinking about the ways to lead customers to additional selection, without distracting them from making a purchase.



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