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July 16, 2006

Coming soon: the answer to too much choice

photo of ranqueen shelves

Face it, we all feel assaulted at times by Too Much Choice... a typical supermarket in the U.S. has 100 types of soup, more than 30 types of toothpaste... is that huge a selection really helpful? Or just confusing?

If you'd like your universe of choices reduced for you, take heart, help is on the way from Japan. Ranking Ranqueen (here's their website, in Japanese) is a Tokyo retain chain that sells the top listed items in a wide variety of categories. Instead of 100 types of soup, just the top three. Instead of 30 types of toothpaste, just the top five. The rankings are updated based on sales at the big Tokyo department stores and via other sales research.

This is the other side of Chris Anderson's Long Tail... actively removing any niche markets. If your favorite soup falls to number four in soup popularity...poof!...it's gone from their shelves. (But then of course having a store that refuses to deal in niche markets is itself a niche market...no wonder Tokyo remains ground zero when it comes to cultural dissonance).

The folks at Springwise spotted this. They say there are no stores like this in the U.S. yet, but the market is wide open for them. They also have a great newsletter.

Posted by Chris Spurgeon at July 16, 2006 03:17 AM