No. 26 Less is Better Effect

The less-is-better effect is a type of preference reversal that occurs when the lesser or smaller alternative of a proposition is preferred when evaluated separately, but not evaluated together.

The less-is-better effect is a type of preference reversal that occurs when the lesser or smaller alternative of a proposition is preferred when evaluated separately, but not evaluated together.

When products are evaluated separately rather than jointly, shoppers focus less on attributes that are important and are influenced more by attributes that are easy to evaluate.

One study presented participants with two dinner set options. Option A included 40 pieces, nine of which were broken. Option B included 24 pieces, all of which were intact. Option A was superior, as it included 31 intact pieces.

When evaluated separately, individuals were willing to pay a higher price for set B. In a joint evaluation of both options, on the other hand, Option A resulted in higher willingness to pay (Hsee, 1998).

In-store, it is important to understand the context in which shoppers evaluate your brand.

  1. Choice management – Quite simply, shoppers have too much choice, as studies have shown reducing choice often increases sales (discounters explained!). Google the Sheena Iyengar Jam study.
  2. Bricks not walls – In large, hard to browse categories, split them into more manageable hunks. Not so much food to go, but separate displays of savoury, sweet and drink items.
  3. The default option – A good way to help shoppers choose which to buy, is to have a clearly labelled ‘default’ option. A safe bet and all-round answer to the needs the category fulfils.

Choice can no longer be used to justify a marketing strategy in and of itself. More isn’t always better, either for the customer or for the retailer.

About Phillip Adcock

My name is Phillip Adcock: I have more than 30 years of human behavioural research and analysis, and have developed a unique ability to identify what it is that makes people psychologically and physiologically 'tick'.

Would you like to know more about how shoppers and consumers think? Download my FREE guide now. Alternatively, check out www.adcocksolutions.com, where there are more FREE downloads available there. Or why not simply email me with what's on your mind?

If you think there is value in this article then please, please share it, thank you.

Phillip Adcock
Psychology & Behaviour
Change Consultant

Are you fascinated by how shoppers think?

If you’re as fascinated by how shoppers think as I am, check out my books on Amazon for more insightful, provocative and stimulating information.

More from Brainsights

Shopper Marketing - How to Combat the Very Real Threat of New Shopping Habits

When we emerge from this current situation, shopping habits will have changed, brand loyalties will have been tested and historical sales data may well come into question.

Read Story

Shopper and Consumer Psychology Towards Sustainability

If building a sustainable business was a fashionable trend five years ago, today it is a business imperative. Leading brands & retailers have figured out that focusing on environmental & social factors is a necessity in today’s marketplace. And if done well, it is a true competitive advantage. But what does sustainability really mean to shoppers, in-store, or online at the moment they make their purchasing decisions?

Read Story

The Psychological Benefits of a Secondary Display In-store

Have you ever stopped to think about how many sales and how much share you might be losing, simply because your brand isn’t as psychologically effective in-store as those of the competition?

Read Story

Learn about the
mind of the consumer

A guide to discovering what consumers really want

Download FREE now!

Get the latest brainsights straight to your email box

We will never share your email address with third parties.