Why You May NOT Want to Attract More Customers

“How do we get more customers?”
It’s a question every business asks. The answer for many: Create more product and service options that attract customers.

Like toothpaste. I no longer simply buy toothpaste. I buy cavity-preventing, tartar-fighting, teeth-whitening toothpaste that leaves my breath minty fresh (and I prefer spearmint to peppermint).
Yet is more choice always better? One study found that more shoppers were attracted to a display of 24 jams than to a display of 6 jams (60% vs. 40% stopped to look). So far, so good. But … in the first case, only 3% of those who stopped went on to purchase. In the second instance, 30% of those who stopped went on to purchase.
Well, things aren’t so simple, are they? The factors that attract customers may not be the same as the factors that lead them to buy. So answer this: Is the goal to attract more customers or to convert more customers (to buying)?
The answer, when presented as an either-or: neither. Attracting more customers can be a costly exercise and, if your conversion rate is low, the cost-of-acquisition-per-customer may be excessive. You keep filling the funnel but little spits out the other end.
On the other hand, attracting only customers who are very likely to buy may unnecessarily limit your potential market. You’ve got great flow through the funnel but you just don’t have enough intake.
The goal is to optimize the combination of attraction-and-conversion. Effectiveness and efficiency. The sweet spot where you attract a significant number of potential customers and efficiently convert them into real customers. The place that balances the volume of acquisition and the cost of acquisition.
Final point: Why would providing more options, and attracting more customers, lead to a lower conversion rate? Because more options can make it harder for the customer to decide. Too many choices can be bewildering. They can cause the customer to overthink things and second-guess themselves.
Don’t attract potential customers only to make life difficult for them. Attract them and make it easy for them to decide, and to buy.
Find the sweet spot.
Make it happen.
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