Thursday, April 23, 2015

Abandon Abundance After Attracting

In running your retail business, you expect decisive advice. If I throw you too many “On the one hand…, but on the other hand….” tactics, you’ll get irritated. That’s why I’ve been clear in the past in advising you that presenting an abundance of choices to the shopper who is ready to buy can sabotage the sale. The shopper gets confused.
     But the truth is that behind the curtain, I’ve encountered over the years a number of research studies saying that the more choices you give the shopper, the better the selling probability. Now a report in Journal of Consumer Psychology says that those studies’ conclusions were misleading.
     This new report, from Northwestern University and Compass Lexecon, was a meta-analysis of almost 100 studies of possible choice overload involving a total of more than 7,200 consumers. The evidence is clear that choice overload does happen. Moreover, the new report uses the abundance of study data to say when the phenomenon is most likely:
  • The shopper lacks clear decision criteria 
  • There’s high time pressure 
  • Comparing the items requires mental effort 
  • The shopper wants the choice to be easy 
     You might consider this list of four as no more than glorified common sense—another danger I must avoid in giving you advice. But together, those four support advice from other researchers: Studies at Yale University, University of New South Wales, and Peking University indicate that you can avoid choice overload by encouraging the shopper to think in more abstract ways, such as about features the items have in common rather than considering each item in the choice as unique.
     Similarly, researchers at University of Delaware and University of Pennsylvania discovered that a way to keep shoppers engaged is to encourage them to focus on product features rather than item alternatives. With the features in mind, the person can start rating each alternative until coming to a decision.
     Large product assortments attract shoppers to a store, but once there, many of the shoppers avoid making a purchase because they’re not sure what’s best. Nagged by indecision, they might leave the store.
     In your marketing, point out how you offer a large number of choices. When a browser starts the shopping with you, display categories within categories to highlight the abundance of alternatives.
     Then stay alert to evidence of choice overload. If you spot the evidence, abandon the appeal of abundance.

For your profitability: Sell Well: What Really Moves Your Shoppers

Click below for more: 
Take Occam’s Razor to Your Shoppers
Abstract Shoppers to Avoid Choice Overload
Ease Maximizing by Using Choice Overload
Dissolve Decision Paralysis

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