Too Much Choice

The longest line at my movie theatre this weekend was not at the ticket office to buy our seats for Interstellar.

Nor, was it the line to get popcorn and drinks.

The longest line at the movie theatre this weekend was the one in front of the Coca Cola Freestyle machines.

Perhaps you’ve seen one of these soda dispensers FROM THE FUTURE before. Every Coke product ever conceived on tap to be flavored in any number of combinations. All available by a few simple taps of a flat screen display. 146 possible flavor combinations in all.

It’s a fascinating feat of technology and engineering.

And to most people at the movies on Saturday night, totally overwhelming.

I watched for a while to see people flipping across screen, selecting, then changing their minds. All the while the line growing ever longer behind them.

Tap, tap, back, tap.

Choice, is often a wonderful thing. We need it. For self expression. For competition. For personal accountability.

But too much choice can be paralyzing.

It can lead to terrible customer experiences, abandoned shopping carts, and soda cups that take 10min to fill… with plain ole Diet Coke. 

Just because something can be customized or personalized, doesn’t mean it should. There’s a fine line between freeing your customers with choice and terrifying them by it.

Best to stay on the the former side of that line.