Coming soon to a Starbucks near you: Less variety. Expect to see a narrower assortment of products in the main area of your local coffee chain outpost sometime soon this year.
After reporting a disappointing holiday season quarter stateside, Starbucks (SBUX) is planning to remove 200 items, or 30% of the types of merchandise, it sells in front of the counter. The goal? To make it easier to add or remove items as needed and not get saddled with things customers end up not liking. “This simplification effort increases our focus and reduces operational complexity in our stores,” Scott Maw, Starbucks CFO recently told investors.
Starbucks is hardly the only chain to discover that less is often more in retail. Target (TGT) is two years into an effort to shrink the the variety of sizes, flavors and even brands on store shelves, finding that key to seamlessly integrating stores and e-commerce, and crucially that customers balk at too much choice anyway. Ditto Kohl’s (KSS), which is leaning more on its web site to supplement its stores where it prefers to stock less now but focus more on high volume, fast selling items even as it shrinks hundreds of its stores.
Indeed, the days of shocking and awing customers with an endless selection in stores may finally be ending. As former P&G CEO A.G. Lafley put it a couple of years ago, “You’re wasting their time.”
A version of this article appears in the March 2018 issue of Fortune with the headline “Retailers Learn That Less Is More.”