Life. Simplified.

All of a sudden, the earth has started to spin too fast. So much going on in the world. We are all overloaded with information and choices. It is not a surprise that brands that simplify our lives are very successful these days. Googles and Apples strive by actually giving their customers less! About a year ago, we talked about “paradox of choice”. The more you give to your customers, the less happy they become. Sounds weird eh? I recently read a great article about this topic and wanted to write a follow up to my previous article.

Iyengar and Agrawal talk about the scary proliferation of choice in modern era. They say that the average grocery store stocked 3,700 products in 1949. Now, an average supermarket has 45,000 products. Starbucks offers you 87,000 drink combinations. Cold Stone Creamery claims that it offers more than 11.5 million ice-cream combos. You have 15 million date possibilities on! I think I can stop beating a dead horse as you get the point. We have more options than we need in life.

In its most fundamental definition, a choice allows you to choose the option that satisfies your need. When presented with a choice, your expected behaviour is to choose an option that surpasses your expectation, “to satisfice”.  However, your real behaviour is completely different. You subconsciously switch from satisfice mode into “maximize” mode, starting to look for “the best option” even though you are perfectly fine with a mediocre one.

Don’t get me wrong. We like the idea of “choice.” That makes us feel like a ruler: It brings the control and power-seeker in us. But as described above, there is a limit to that before we forego our buying decision altogether.

Today’s actionable tip: The authors of the article argue that this problem can be overcome by doing four things.

  1. The first one is obvious. Eliminate the alternatives that don’t sell well. Not only they don’t sell well, they confuse your customers and probably negatively affect your sales.
  2. Then, be helpful and share with them your expert opinion. Empower them through knowledge.
  3. Also consider categorizing their options. Instead of seeing all the options once, if you can create categories you can reduce the anxiety of your customers.
  4. Finally, don’t bombard them with too many options at the beginning. Instead, increase the number of options as they go along. Turns out that people build self-confidence by making decisions. So start with less options and when the customer has more self-esteem, increase the options.
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