It All Started with Jam: The Importance of Focus
One day, Mark Lepper and Sheena Lyengar carefully formed a large, twenty-four variety jam display in an upscale market. Every few hours, Mark and Sheena adjusted the large table display from twenty-four varieties of jam to only six options.
Their discovery? The larger display of twenty-four jams received 60% more attention than the showcase of only six jams.
However, what transpired was quite remarkable. While the large display garnered the most attention and had the most choices, the table with fewer choices available achieved significantly more sales. The results weren’t even close!
People were ten times more likely to purchase from the table with fewer choices [Schwartz, Barry, “More Isn’t Always Better,” Harvard Business Review, June 2006, bit.ly/35Nwsvy]. This Jam study, as well as many others like it, center around “Choice Overload” or the “Paradox of Choice.” For example, several studies have shown that if employees are given more fund options for their 401K, fewer will actually participate. They experience choice overload. The lesson? Try to avoid choice overload in your life. [Tugend, Alina. “Too Many Choices: A Problem That Can Paralyze,” The New York Times, February 26, 2010, bit.ly/35Nwsvy]
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