A Better Choosing Experience

When consumers are overwhelmed with options, marketers should give them what they really want: ways of shopping that lower the cognitive demands of choosing.

From Strategy + Business

People like the idea of choice. It’s exciting to hear a list of exotic flavors and to see a wide wall of colorful jars, any of which can be yours. Having a larger number of choices makes people feel that they can exercise more control over what they buy. And consumers like the promise of choice: The greater the number of options, the greater the likelihood of finding something that’s perfect for them. In short, they believe that having more choice gives them more power and satisfaction.

But they overestimate their own capacity for managing these choices. Psychological studies have consistently shown that it’s very difficult to compare and contrast the attributes of more than about seven different things. When faced with the cognitive demands of choosing, people often become overwhelmed and frustrated. As a result, they may forgo the choice altogether, reach for the most familiar option, or make a decision that ultimately leaves them far less satisfied than they had expected to be.

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Readers interested in this article will also enjoy Inside the Secret world of Trader Joe's. Also read The Paradox of Choice.