Could having too many candles on display actually be turning away buyers and lowering potential sales?

To most candle makers, it would seem intuitive to give your customers greater choice by growing and expanding your range of candles thereby meeting more needs.

However, findings of numerous studies in human psychology and decision making are suggesting that this is not the case.

Having a larger range of candles on display may actually be hurting your chance of making a sale.

In 2000, a study conducted by Stanford University found that people are less likely to buy a product if they are presented with too much choice.

The discovery was made when researchers observed people shopping for varying ranges of homemade jam on a stand. Interestingly, it found that more people purchased jam when there were fewer options available.

Choice Infographic


The same theory hold true across all different types of products and services, including everything ranging from chocolates to retirement plans.

It is believed that the fear of making the wrong decision is a more powerful motivator than the fear of not making a decision at all.

Many have described this phenomenon as analysis paralysis or buyer’s remorse and it has a very real effect on your ability to make a sale.

What does this mean for candle makers?

Well for many candle makers a large part of the craft is experimentation.

Whether it’s perfecting the scent load, testing different wick sizes or trying different wax blends.

Why not experiment with your range display too?

As the study suggests displaying only a small range of candles in your’ store should in theory yield more sales.

Instead of displaying 4 different candles, try displaying 2 types of candles. It may also be worth reducing the number of scents and colours you use to a select few.

Try recording the number of people who view your stand and make a sale when you have a larger range on display and then do the same with a smaller range on display - then compare your results.

I would love to hear the results so please post in the comments your success or failure in this endeavour.

Happy candle making!

Sheena, S., Lepper, R., 2000, When Choice Is Demotivating: Can One Desire Too Much of a Good Thing?, The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, vol 79, No. 6 995-1006