Why Offering Multiple Membership Options Kills Your Business

From what to eat, to where to vacation and how to spend their money: people make hundreds of decisions a day. While you may believe giving potential clients choices when it comes to gym membership aids their decision-making, research suggests it only serves to confuse it.

“Too many choices can overwhelm us and cause us not to choose at all. For businesses, this means that if they offer too many choices, we may not buy anything at all.”

– Sheena Iyengar

In 1995 an important study into the subject of choice was conducted. In a California gourmet market, Professor Iyengar set up a booth of samples of Wilkin & Sons jams. Every few hours, she switched from offering a selection of 24 different jams to a group of just 6.

Photo Credit: SheenaIyengar.com


60 percent of customers were drawn to the large assortment, while only 40 percent stopped by the small one. But 30 percent of the people who had sampled from the small assortment decided to buy jam; while only 3 percent of those confronted with the 24 different jams purchased a jar.

Apply this research to the fitness industry and it’s easy to understand why many gyms struggle to close a sale when they offer dozens of different membership options. What’s the upshot?

When financial growth is your goal, rather than offer more choice to entice potential clients, offer less and be sure the offerings you have are quality.

In our work with over 40 gyms around the world, we’ve discovered that offering one product — Individually Designed Fitness — helps the gym owner close sales more efficiently and effectively.

Learn more helpful tips on running a successful gym by downloading our free guide, The 5 Mistakes Gym Owners Make, now.