Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Blue Shirt Problem

I went to Macy's today with the goal of purchasing a blue dress shirt. Blue is a standard, widely accepted color for young professionals such as myself. Because of this fact, there were at least 30 different types of purely blue shirts. They were all quite similar but also somewhat different - with slightly different patterns, textures, shades, shapes, etc.

By now, most marketers know that too much choice can be counterproductive - that the customer gets overwhelmed and may choose nothing. I definitely felt this phenomenon begin to affect my decision-making process - since the energy needed to make a selection was nearly greater than the immediate benefit of getting a new shirt.

I finally ended up selecting one shirt. But the choice was based on nearly pure luck and a conscious decision to not waste any more time comparing the different choices. In a world where time is more important than a physical good, how can digital goods even compare?

[To Be Continued]
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