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When I open my Instagram or Facebook news feed, I regularly see beautiful pictures of Nail Tech’s showing off how many colour gels or polishes they have in their Salon. (Sometimes they even brag about how many nail brands they stock) You’ve probably seen it too! Beautiful pictures of gorgeous Nail Bars that have a ton of colours all arranged in their different shades like a rainbow.

This makes the Nail Bar look really beautiful, and at first it sounds impressive that a Nail Tech allows her clients to choose from a hundred colours, but, the question is, “is this a smart business move?”

While it is a good thing to offer customers a selection of colours to choose from, how much is too much?


Ironically, marketing and psychology studies around the world have found that offering clients to much choice is actually a bad thing. It is known as the paradox of choice. Contrary to popular belief, having too many options to choose from doesn’t make customers happy – it actually causes stress, indecision and purchase paralysis.

The Paradox of Choice has huge implications for sales and marketing in your nail business because it affects consumer purchase decisions. Your customers can often be put off making a purchase if they are given to many colours, products or nail brands to choose from.

Here’s why – too much choice creates what Psychologists call “cognitive pressure.” In other words, customers will tend to avoid purchasing because of indecision or the fear that they may ultimately choose the wrong colour. (What if I choose the wrong colour Gelpolish? Then I’ve wasted my money and I’m stuck with something I don’t like) In other words, too much choice actually makes it harder for customers to buy. It’s therefore incredibly important to ensure that it is as simple as possible for your customers to make a choice so that they don’t feel overwhelmed and so their final decision is satisfactory for both them and you.


  1. It is a big business strategy that doesn’t work in a small business. While large businesses like supermarkets and hardware stores thrive on having thousands of items under one roof, this is a business strategy that doesn’t work in a small business like a salon or nail bar. Why is that? Firstly, these businesses buy in bulk and have massive profit margins. Nail Bars don’t have this buying power and so their margins on all the colours they buy are not that high. I.e. as a business owner you are spending lots of money on items that don’t actually make you much money in return. Secondly, large businesses like Makro or Builders Warehouse have massive amounts of foot traffic passing through their establishment – clients come in for one item and end up buying 4 or 5 by the time they leave. Unfortunately you don’t have this foot traffic coming through your Nail Bar.
  2. It makes it hard for clients to choose. Have you ever placed a selection of colour pops in front of a client and watched them try and choose one shade of pink polish from a selection of ten or twenty different shades? A simple decision suddenly become a complex exercise – almost as if the fate of the world rested on choosing the correct colour. Study a franchise like McDonald’s (which by the way is a local neighbourhood small business like yours) and you will discover something interesting – they don’t give clients hundreds of items to choose from. Aside from their seasonal specials, the average McDonald’s allows clients to choose from 4 standard beef burgers and 2 standard chickenburgers because they know this keeps their costs down and most importantly allows clients to make a purchasing decision fast! You should do the same.
  3. It inflates your expenses. The average high-quality nail polish costs R100 or more and professional gelpolishes cost R250 and above. Let’s imagine you allow clients to choose form 50 or more colours – that’s at least R5000’s worth of nail polish and R12,500 worth of gelpolishes sitting on your shelf. That doesn’t make business sense in a small business like a Nail Bar. This is cash sitting on your shelf and it is not working for you.
  4. Most of the colours will expire, separate or coagulate before they are even halfway finished. You have experienced this yourself. You purchase colours and then a few months or even years later you end up throwing them away because they have gone hard in the bottle or the colours have even gone out of fashion – sadly, all you have done is flush your cash down the toilet.


The answer is simple. Offer your clients choice but be smart when you do. Speak to The Image Cartel and we will guide you and advise you on what colours are popular in your City. Our Trainers will be able to assist you with fast moving colour’s that are in demand depending on the season or popular fashion trends.  This results in a win-win situation for you and your clients. Remember that one of the secrets to business success is to keep your costs low and your profit margins high – so don’t tie up your cash flow and waste your money by stocking too many products, colours and brands.

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