Monday, March 21, 2011

Freedom of Choice

The Long Tail is a famous book by Chris Anderson that changes the way we think about markets. It really is a watershed book. It has many, many vital concepts, but here is one.

How many choices should you give your customers? Here at the Nauvoo Commuter, we usually recommend fewer choices. Too many choices overwhelms people.

But if you have a good process for helping people make choices without overwhelming them, then you should offer more choices.

As we've said in this space before, you don't need to sell to everyone. You only need to identify and sell to yoga enthusiasts with April birthdays, or Kung Fu instructors who love maple-flavored ice cream, or 53-year-old Methodists with a disdain for European-style cell phones. You need to find "one of a city, two of a family." You can aggregate each one with the one in each city across the world. That can add up to a large customer base.

With the internet, you can do this. This is really, really good news for rural entrepreneurs.

My wife does this in her shop, Her taste in fabrics is a combination of 1840s pioneer reproduction and Asian color influence. Some people think it is quirky, but thousands of people love the style.

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