Choosing between 195 different bedroom textiles may seem like a pleasant way to spend an afternoon for some, but most of us can probably find better uses for our time. While freedom of choice is a wonderful thing, living in an age where products are plentiful, adverts are unstoppable and options are infinite, it can all get a little bit suffocating. According to the Harvard Business Review, too many choices can lead to anxiety, confusion snf dissatisfaction; and can actually deter consumers from making a purchase altogether. So how can marketers make the decision process an easier pill to swallow?
Become Brand Advisors
Susan Abbott from Customer Experience Crossroads believes, “Our favorite brands do quite a bit of filtering for us, and only offer up choices that fit the core values of the brand." Filtering can act as a gentle nudge in the right direction by categorising specific consumer preferences. American Department Store Sears provided streamlined navigation of the online purchasing process all the way to customer checkout – tailoring their offer by brand, item type, compatible devices and availability at each location.
Simplify The Decision
Enhance your online consumer experience by simplifying the research process with clear, brand-specific product information at each stage of the decision-making process. According to an article in Forbes by Patrick Spenner of Corporate Executive Board, Decision Simplicity boosts consumer loyalty and is considered to be four times more effective than a marketing strategy that’s focused on engagement. Financial management solutions company Intuit put this research to the test by providing easy-to-read comparisons and even including a “help me choose” option that guides customers towards a plan that’s best for them.
7 – it’s the magic number
When does too much choice become too much of a good thing? According to research, our brains can only handle, around 7 choices (give or take two) so it’s best to trim any redundancies. Sticking to this rule of thumb will lower the chances of “analysis paralysis,” leading to improved sales conversions. Hong Kong interior design and furnishing service provider Indigo shows marketers how it’s done with 7 options on their homepage, along with 7 interchangeable Calls To Action.
Don’t get stuck in the information glut
Bogging audiences down with masses of information is not the key to success. Only give your consumers the best choices, and make them accessible from the start. American psychologist Barry Schwartz believes there is a definite turning point, 'as the number of choices we face increases, the psychological benefits we derive start to level off… and the negative effects of choice accelerate.” Structure your call to action carefully, keep it concise and make sure it’s in clear view of first-time users. For inspiration, check out online gift card providers Giftrocket.
Reduce Consumer Angst
To minimise consumer anxiety while shopping, focus on speed. During the purchasing process, information overload causes the brain to believe that the purchase requires a greater sacrifice, ultimately leading to dissatisfaction and post-choice regret.
Companies tackle this problem this by creating succinct information, product testimonials or simply offering fewer products. Recognising that overwhelming product selection was working against them, Tesco cut back on 30% of their stock range to give shoppers a happy medium.
When it comes to the complexities of consumer choice, remember that less is more when it comes to making purchase decisions. Drowning customers in options may be doing more harm than good – so keep your choices focused, differentiated and clear.