How Reducing Options Can Increase Your Conversions

More is better, right? Not in the world of conversion optimization.

Just think of it this way…When you take a kid to a candy store, what happens? They don’t know what to buy, right? The reason is that they have too many options to choose from and they are not sure which one is the best choice.

The same goes for the web. Giving people too many options or asking them for too much information can quickly reduce your conversions. For example, by reducing the number of options in your form fields from 6 to 3, you can increase your conversion rate, on average, by 66%.

To show you how you can reduce the number of options on your site, I decided to create an infographic that breaks down different strategies that will help you increase your conversion rate.

Click on the image below to see a larger view:

How Reducing Options Can Increase Your Conversions

Click here to view an enlarged version of this infographic.

Conclusion

The jam case study in the infographic was eye-opening to me as I didn’t expect that reducing the number of flavors offered in a free sample would cause more people to actually purchase the product.

If you aren’t sure how many options to give your visitors, always go with the lower number. If you want to add more options in the future, you can always do so, but my recommendation is to A/B test it.

So, what do you think about limiting options on your website?

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Comments

  1. Great illustration of the paradox of choice.

    Want to have at least two options (usually) so it’s framed as an ‘choose this or choose that’ decision rather than a ‘yes or no to one choice’ decision.

    But too many options confuse the reptilian brain! Confusion = No Conversion

    - Steve

    • Steve, great point. I especially like your mention of the reptilian brain :)

      • Neil,

        I’m not sure if you saw the reptilian brain case study before writing this is very similar to that. They tested it with countless things like mutual funds, affiliate offers, and even women’s shoes! The result? Pretty much in every case study, the conclusion was: Less Is More.

        • Khuram Dhanani,

          I happen to stumble upon that case study and the problem with the affiliate data is it’s niche focused. So, by narrowing it down to only one industry, you make it biased to some extent.

          I actually agree with Neil and his thoughts, just thought I’d point out the study was slightly skewed (but Neil is right on).

  2. I’m about start selling flags on my site. This could come in handy. Maybe I should visably not offer as much options on sizes and appearance?

  3. Hmmm ! Amazing new idea, i always get best tricks from here.Thanks Neil

  4. That case study was a real eye-opener……Great data and info….Thanks Neil

  5. Pratik Unadkat :

    Simply amazing Neil. I mean I am loving and digging all the great insights you provide. Every time I am doing work on my GMAIL and your newsletter pop, I hop right away to read it and have so far never neglected or closed it. Literally, each post was useful and I took something “useful” to home.

    These insights are greatly going to help me and I think many with their future pursuits!

    Thanks again,

    Pratik!

  6. Hi Neil,
    Nice infographic!
    I agree, more options creates confusion.
    I’ve reduced the social sharing buttons on my site; only displaying major social buttons!
    thanks!

  7. Hi Neil,

    First of all nice article with infographic presentation.

    Its very true to increase conversion with less options because person is ready to take action with available information but, if more options are available then it will confused on selection and it may create lot more questions…..so he will take more time to do research again on all available options and website may lose conversion right away…

    -Bhargav

  8. I’d personally include ‘additional options’ in a collapsed box, that people could expand if they wanted to see those extra options. That way, it’d be visually simple, but with the extra choices available.

    Either that, or you could start selling jams :-)

  9. I guess one of the best ways to strike a balance between conversions and increasing value per customer (which is why you present more products to the same customer) is by moving towards a linear model where you sell the second product after you have converted the customer for the first. Do this either by showcasing the second product on the Thank You page or via an email newsletter.

    Neil, any idea what converts better? Showing it on the Thank You page or on the newsletter?

  10. I agree to what thats mentioned, reducing the field in our registration from really increased the number of signups at our website.

  11. Another great Infographic Neil thank you!

    I know you like feedback and I’ve finally got one after so long, how about providing the Sources links that the infographic is based off of, in the blog posts so we can check them out without having to type the addresses out, that would be cool.

    Thanks!

  12. WOW! Another awesome info-graphic. Love hanging around your blog as every post of yours is an eye opener. Great work Neil. Looking forward to your next post. :)

  13. Any suggestions for service-based businesses? (coaches, designers, etc). I’ve been thinking about narrowing my services down but they always end up expanding again when clients ask for customized packages, and then I wonder if other people would like those packages too.

  14. wow neil, thanks so much for this great infographic, especially the jam tasting case study was very interresting. It´s astonishing to see, how customers really behave in real life. I didn´t expect that there was 30% buyers rate if you sell them product with less variety. thanks again for this great post and infographic

  15. Reducing the number of choices is really a good way to increase conversions.That’s why Internet marketing landing pages convert so well.

    A moment ago i needed to reunderstand some thing so i turned to quicksprout university only to find that it is now packed as a paid membership program.I didn’t thought that it would happen.feeling bad but i can understand that you had to do this.

  16. Neil, I agree that less options in a form would lead to more conversions, but wouldn’t more forms on a page increase the chances of conversions? Is it advisable to do the A/B test and keep only the form that converts the most? I guess there are exceptions to this inversely proportional relationship.

    Thanks for sharing the simple but important case studies that convert common sense into critical information.

    • What I am trying to say is less form fields boost conversions. Also having more forms on a page doesn’t mean more people will fill them out, at least thats what I saw when testing.

  17. “Giving people too many options or asking them for too much information can quickly reduce your conversions. ”

    I discovered this recently on my own website.

    Simply by removing the requirement for them to input both their name AND email, (instead just asking for their email), my opt-in CTR doubled.

    I’m still getting used to the idea of constantly split testing and trying out new ideas to optimize my websites front page, but that result really inspired me.

  18. Very interesting, Neil.

    It is like a software development – users don’t want many options. All they want is just one big button in the center of the screen with label “Make it all cool”

    And as I see in marketing three buttons goes the best… although lead-genration pages are considered to be super effective – they also have just one choice by the way :).

  19. The research was not done by the NY Times, they just covered that. Apart from that excelen visual.

  20. This is very good post. I have read about the paradox of choice. However I wanted to know about the quality of the conversions. Isn’t it likely that the customers who put more of their data are better quality and may be better leads?
    I am of the opinion that they are more likely to buy though I have not found any study that shows that. This theory is likely true for higher priced products or services.
    What are your thoughts on the quality?
    thanks Neil for sharing.

    • You make a good point, it’s something each website will have to test. I know when I added or removed form fields on neilpatel.com the quality of the leads didn’t change.

  21. Neil,

    Great article and infographic. I will be starting to sell products from next month. You have given me a lot to think about. I am thinking that breaking my products down into the smallest categories may help so that there will only be a few options in each category.

  22. Neil,

    There’s actually been a lot of testing on this and the best one I’ve seen worked like this:

    Option 1 – Obviously the highest value
    Option 2 – An insane price no one would ever go for
    Option 3 – A fair amount of value, but not close to #1

    When a customer sees this, they instantly rule out option 2. This gives them the comfort of knowing they made the “best choice” – and the merchant is fine with either #1 or #3.

    Sort of letting the customer feel like they are winning by not choosing option 2. However, its sort of like, heads I win, tails you lose – brilliant stuff.

  23. Great article! I have a product page that only offers one option… should I add a 2nd option? I need feedback!

    Please visit https://www.etul.us/pricing/

    I know I am asking a lot from the community… but I am a small business owner with limited resources.

    Thanks,

    Steve Jocks

  24. Neil, I would really like to know how do you take into account your visitors spending mood when you are doing an a/b test. My site is constant for e most part. Every now and then, I tweak it with small to extensive changes. But, Number of visitors remain the same and Number of orders remain the same even after tweaks. Sometimes unexpected number of orders come in and such good days have happened even before the tweaks. So, how do we know which is better? Is it the buying season? Is the visitors general mood? Or, are the tweaks making a positive effect despite bad buying season and visitors mood? Is there anyway to evaluate buying season and visitors mood to do a real a/b test?

    • Don’t worry about the mood. A/B testing software accounts for a lot of this as it tells you when a test is complete. With large data sets you can be informed on the option/variation you should take.

  25. This is great! Thanks
    I especially love the menu drop down stats. Something I had not seen before. Thanks

  26. Great visual presentation Neil! I agree completely to many choices can decrease conversation rate, a lot depending on your demographics. The ultimate options in my experience is either one or three different options.

  27. love it!

    I think I need to apply this to get the best conversion.
    Thanks for sharing, Neil.

  28. Hey Steve – I would consider adding two more options for a total of three. Again, you should test this, but would absolutely have more than one option.

  29. Neil, couldn’t it be said that the more info you get, the more qualified your lead is? Look at Hubspot, they ask for quite a bit of info on their landing pages.

    I like asking for name/email for my top of funnel offers, then my mid/bottom on funnel offers I ask for more. By this time, they trust me (hopefully).

    Some great stats though, some very surprising.

    • Adam, you can put them through steps. The first step would be to get their email & then ask for more information down the line. You don’t want to jump straight into the sale.

  30. This is true when there are too many options, even for buying jeans or a jacket it is so overwhelming that I would rather just leave the store and go somewhere else. This is also why it’s more effective and a time saver to shop at local grocery stores that are smaller than to try to save money at large big box retailers. It just takes too much time for a busy person.

  31. Hi Neil. Thanks for the quick insights and easy-on-the-eye infographics.

    Question… are drop down stats referring to navigation menus or filling out forms? Both?

    • Lucas, for forms. Drop down forms are not that great for conversions. However, if your navigation involves landing pages and buying things then consider getting rid of them.

  32. Very interesting insights, I work with Group buying and Travel company. This infographic will help me push only most popular items on the home page, it has been an argument for a long time in our company.

  33. You always give great idea.

    Thanks Neil

  34. easier said than done. Somehow people try to everything they have done. How to zero-in to those 4-6 options?

  35. I reduced options on my cash gifting squeeze page a while back Neil. Opt ins jumped. I mean, I had a nice video before but I did not want people to watch a video, or to try to gain their trust. I wanted to send them value by asking for their name and email address.

    We try too hard at times. We add options for fear of having too few options, when we should establish greater clarity around our offering.

    I am fine tuning my blog as we speak. I reduced tons of menu options a few weeks back. I also need to lean out my sidebar to boost conversions. Clarity counts a ton in the online niche.

    Thanks for sharing Neil!

  36. Hello. Very true reducing option always improve the conversions especially the case of Form the more complex less conversions and small form gives more conversions.

  37. Hey Neil!

    What about for something like a Ticket site? If one site has 1000′s of tickets, but another only shows 100′s, doesn’t the smaller look inferior? I get the Jam example, but those are all probably the same price.. What do you think?

  38. This is a great post! I recently just reduced option on my site as well and it’s helped simplify things for my customers.

  39. Hello,

    Really nice infographic. Informative and well presented.

    Recently, I removed some of my social following buttons on my blog because I want to focus on getting more people to follow me on twitter than all of my social media. Now that I have read this, I hope that it can actually helps me to convert more readers into twitter followers!

    I also kept my social sharing buttons to a few after reading one of the comments above.

    Cheers,
    Alfred

  40. Less options = less confusion.

  41. I like your earlier point as well with the choose this or that. Need to make it as simple as possible.

  42. Great info in the graphic.

    If anyone out there is still not sure whether or not they should take Neil’s advice and reduce the choices their website visitors must make to perform an action, let me agree with Neil. If you find yourself choosing between a high and low number of choices, then I recommend that you go with the lower number.

    For example, we used to have a lead capture form that was 15 questions long, we reduced it to a 3 field form and saw a substantial increase in conversions within the first week. So, you should reduce your options where possible, when you have a long web form.

    Thanks for sharing, Neil, I think I may post your infographic on our blog.

    -Keller

  43. Wow…you are so right. I always get overwhelmed and double minded when there are too many options….Great post Neil

  44. Neil, I agree with you but would need your opinion in case of e-commerce websites specially e-clothing stores where more is better usually. I might not have quantitative data to support my point but qualitative data suggests that customers are looking for more options in case of clothing, for example options in designs, colors, etc.

    Thanks again for sharing the info graphics :)

  45. I so much believe in your posts. Am sure making adjustments on my site following your post. Am want to make impact in my country Nigeria.

  46. I believe it would be better if you showcase the second product in a future newsletter. Convincing people twice on the same day is a bit difficult unless you have an awesome product.

  47. Hi Neil,
    I am a new user of your blog really very impressive blog which is unique to another blog with different thoughts. Somebody said about your post, actually i have no word for your post. Whenever help in future so please tips provide me.
    Thanks for sharing infograph.

  48. Huypham, glad you liked it. Thanks!

  49. We don’t have time for choices! Simple really can be best for everyone involved. Thanks again, Quick Sprout.

  50. I am Glad to Visitor of this Post … Great Point Mentioned in this Post.. !

  51. Can a web-designer be a good SEO expert. Can you suggest good links or books for beginners in SEO.

  52. We always go back to the concept of the “one fits all”. When trying to please everyone you end up pleasing no-one. Try focusing on your core skills and provide something unique that fits a very targeted market, that is how you build authority and expertise.

  53. What do you think about an option for basic information (name, company, email) and detailed option (Phone, services question for better understanding of need) via a radio button defaulted to basic at top of Lead form?

    We offer a service where businesses are requesting pricing. We can give them basic princing but 4-5 more Inputs about company expedites the lead assignment to a specific sales rep and gets them more of the information they might want upfront and instantly.

    Also it wasn’t exactly clear if number of fields includes total fields or required fields……

    Suppose some simple A/B testing could be had but your general consensus is appreciated.

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