Why Less IS MORE in Ecom

Joseph Liu Dec 09, 2021

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Hey, everyone! Joe here, from Build Grow Scale. I’m a Revenue Optimization™ expert, and I help ecom store owners build, grow, and scale their businesses.

Today I want to talk about why less is more in ecom. And I’m going to tell you why a couple of students in our Ecom Insider community did this one thing. It’s absolutely free, and it changed their business—doubled their sales, and tripled their conversion rate. 

Before I get into that, I want to share a quick story with you. Last night, I was at the grocery store and had a checklist of things I needed to buy, one of which was salami. But the one I usually get happened to be sold out, and I was left with what I believe to be over 50 different other options of salami. I live in Germany and this store had a whole cured meat section (cold cuts are a big thing here) with 50 options, and I had no idea what the differences were. I spent about 20 minutes in the aisle looking for the correct one, not exactly sure how to compare them because there’s so many of them … and ended up not choosing any. What’s worse, when I got home, I ended up getting into a fight with my fiancé because I didn’t buy any salami!

The point of my story is this: When you provide too many product options, whether in a brick-and-mortar or online store, it can hinder customers’ buying decisions. They end up confused, intimidated, and unable to decide.

This phenomenon is called the paradox of choice. Having too many options tends to cause people to overthink, trying to consider all the factors of such a wide selection. So, not only does this make it ten times harder to make a decision, but if you do end up making a choice, a lot of times you’ll be left wondering if you missed out or thinking that perhaps you should have bought one of the other variants instead … leaving you feeling unsatisfied with your purchase.

When it comes to your online store, if you have too many products on your product page, too many different variants of individual products, and/or too many options on your collection pages, it can kind of freak people out. 

Time for some more stories …

At one of our BGS Live events, co-founders Matt and Tanner noticed that Mark, an Ecom Insider member, had 13 variants of one of his products. Mark checked out the sales data on that item in Google Analytics and found that five of those variants were generating over 70 percent of that product’s sales. So, he went ahead and deleted the other eight and kept the five best-performing ones.

Here’s what happened over the next six days:

  • His add-to-cart rate went up 20%.
  • His overall conversion rate increased by 42%.

That’s insane, right? So, he wasn’t paying for anything “new” … he simply removed options to make it easier for visitors to make a purchasing decision. And just like that, his conversion rate skyrocketed.

Another member of ours had a POD (print-on-demand) site, and after getting rid of two entire categories on his store, his conversion rate went from 1.4 all the way up to 4.4. That’s a 3x increase in conversion rate!

These stories perfectly illustrate the power of “less is more” in ecommerce. When you provide fewer options, it’ll not only be a lot easier for people to make a buying decision, but you’ll also have happier customers. They’re going to feel confident about shopping on your store and won’t be in that constant state of wondering if they missed out or made the right decision.

So, there are two things you can do to avoid the Paradox choice:

  1. If you have a POD business (which means you don’t have any inventory issues), look at your sales/performance report in Google Analytics … And if you see that the vast majority of your sales are coming from a small number of products or categories, or that most of the sales for a particular product are generated by only a few of its variants, eliminate those outliers. Doing so will make it a lot easier for your visitors to buy from you.
  2. Look at your sales report in Shopify analytics to get a good idea of which products are doing really well and which ones aren’t.

Now, one last thing: If you have inventory issues, a lot of different variants, which I know some of you do … You can actually just add some badges, like “Staff Pick” or “Bestseller” on your collection pages. This will give people the confidence that whatever they choose, it won’t be bad because it’s the popular choice—a safe bet.

So, that’s what I wanted to share with you guys today. If you found this video helpful, click the “Like” button and share it. And if you have any questions or would like us to cover any specific topics that we haven’t yet, let us know in the comments and we’ll get back to you. And lastly, if you’d like to find out more about what Build Grow Scale does or how to work with us, go to workwithbgs.com to book a free strategy session. We’ll see where you are in your ecom business, find out where you want to go, and come up with a plan to help you get there.

I hope that was helpful; I’ll talk to you next time.


About the author

Joseph Liu

Joseph is laser focused on perfecting product pages and picks up new ideas lightning fast. He dissects, tests, and optimizes. He is also the man behind BGS marketing efforts. When he’s not cooking up good websites, you can find him in a CrossFit gym working out with his friend Travis.

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