I kid you not.
"I have found myself standing in front of the Pantene display, trying to figure out if I need the product for dry hair with frizz or dry hair with split ends," said Mr. Steinhafel, a thick-haired 54-year-old. A typical Target store has 88 kinds of Pantene shampoo, conditioner and styling products. A Target spokeswoman said the chain has "slightly reduced" its hair-care offerings this year.
The more-is-better approach can backfire, warns Mark Lepper, the chairman of Stanford University's psychology department, who studies how variety affects the odds that people actually buy. Mr. Lepper set up a table with 30 jars of jam and gave shoppers who stopped for a sample a discount coupon for their next jam purchase. He also had a table with six jams. He counted the coupons to see which group was more likely to buy. Of the shoppers who faced 30 choices, only 3% actually bought jam; of the shoppers who had six choices, 30% purchased jam.The study, like many others, concludes that too much choice was not a good thing. People also feel bad when choosing from a broad selection because they second-guess their pick and worry they have made a poor selection, his follow-up studies revealed.
I'm still stuck on the eighty eight kinds of Pantene shampoo. Seriously, I normally try to curb my consumer rant voice when I'm exploring the rationale behind retail, but that's just mind-bogglingly ridiculous. There simply aren't eighty eight different kinds of hair problems that warrant their own product. Indeed, P&G has pulled back, repackaged, and cut some of the varieties in order to address less-than-desired sales.