Posted by: David Kiley on June 8, 2005
Procter & Gamble’s decision to kill its mass customization experiment, Reflect, a highly touted pilot in mass customization of beauty productsn caught my attention because of one , I thought, ridiculous number.
The business offered more than 10,000 shades of lip gloss. It reminded me of a classroom story I heard once about a lady who sold preserves at a Farmer’s market. She had five flavors and sold more than she thought in just an hour. Wow, she thought. If I offer fifteen kinds of preserves, I’ll clean up. So, she came back with 15 flavors. It took her longer to sell less product. The Farmer’s market customers, it seems, were just stymied by all the choices and moved on to the bread table instead.
Consumers, it seems to me, want choices, but also simplicity and clarity. We don’t have time, or interest, in perusing 10,000 shades of lip gloss.