Fewer Options Equal More Sales

As Costco fans, we watched a documentary by CNBC called, The Costco Craze.

It was interesting to see the reporter delve into all the reasons that Cosco is so successful with a loyal following.

The show focused on a few major points:

  • low prices
  • fostering a sense of discovery with unexpected, frequently changing items
  • limited (but carefully reviewed) selection

These are all reasons I love the giant wholesaler. It’s a good deal, and they have cool stuff that is high quality.

The area that I probably appreciate the most is the fact that Costco does narrow it down for me. Instead of 10 brands to choose from on a given item: there’s usually 1 or 2. The reporter pointed out that shoppers were delegating their selection process to Costco. I know I am.

The show shared some vivid stats that illustrate this point:

  • Grocery store: 400,000 items
  • Wal-Mart: 100,000 items
  • Cosco: 4,000 items

In a world where we are all overwhelmed, sometimes less selection is better.

I’ll address this more in future posts as Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind, one of my favorite marketing texts for my strategic communications class, covers this in more depth.


Sonia is the marketing strategist & word geek for NeuConcept.