Choice Overload, A 21st Century Problem

Overchoice: The more choice we have, the harder decisions can be to make. It may feel counter-intuitive, but giving more products, options and add-ons, can actually deter your customers from making a decision.

Too much choice can cause inertia. Overchoice can be paralysing: Customers may avoid or feel less motivated to make decisions or purchases. They can get stuck over-analysing and may not act at all. So, rather than greater choice increasing your sales, you may see it driving them down. 

Too much choice can also cause anxiety. When many similar choices are on offer, decision making becomes harder.  Each must be carefully weighed against the alternatives. The risk of making a poor decision increases in line with the number of possible outcomes added, and this additional worry is mentally draining for customers. It can result in them deferring, walking away, and feeling unsatisfied and regretful – and this is no way to foster a good working relationship and secure repeat business!

The solution? Be disciplined, simplify, and create a manageable set of choices that are distinct and easily comparable. 

Rather than providing an extensive list of options, reduce and categorise them:

  • Present one easy and obvious default choice. Think of it as a basic 99 in a cone. It’s a starting point for the decision-making process and something that will allow for easy comparison amongst the other options. 
  • Then position an accessible upgrade product – your 99 with a flake. It encompasses a little extra to the basic option, but the difference is not overwhelming and is easy to identify and to assess. 
  • And finally, how about a ridiculous premium product – a double cone with a flake, sprinkles and nuts? This is the full-works, all-in option; a premium product that adds kudos to your entire range, and also allows you to capitalise on premium customers who just want to have the best and are not concerned with price or excessive decision-making.

Of course, this simplification puts the onus firmly back on to you, to do the decision-making in advance. Do you think you could whittle down your extensive range of options into something that is both attractive and digestible?

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