This research finds that brands that offer more choices are perceived as higher quality - and also therefore more likely to be purchased. The suggestive power of greater variety was underlined by food-tasting tests where consumers rated the bigger choice brand as better tasting - even though the products were actually identical.
In studies across a range of consumer products, brands offering greater variety were seen as having more expertise in and knowledge of their markets. But it is possible to offer too much choice when purchases are optional or may be postponed. Variety that leads to loss of brand focus can also undermine consumer perceptions.
Companies deciding whether to add to their product choices should therefore consider not just the profits they might make from that new launch, but also the potential halo effect on the brand as a whole.
For buyers, more choice means better quality,
Jonah Berger, Michaela Draganska and Itamar Simonson,
Stanford Knowledgebase, May 2006
Review by Steve Lodge