Choice overload can lead to dissatisfaction with the decision you made, which is sometimes referred to as "buyer's remorse." It can also result in behavioral paralysis, which Bockenholt defines as a circumstance "in which people are presented with so many choices that they can't pick among them and make no choice at all."
The more options you present to consumers, the more likely they are to feel overwhelmed by this selection process and the less likely they are to make a choice at all. For example, if you sell cars, then presenting consumers with too many car models will cause them to lose interest in buying new vehicles from you. In fact, research has shown that when consumers have too much choice, they tend to make worse decisions than when they have fewer options to choose from.
If you use price as a way to distinguish your products, then choice overload can be a problem for you as well. Consumers who aren't sure which product to buy might look at each one of them closely and this could end up being expensive for you. Also, if you offer a large number of features or specifications, then choice overload could mean that some consumers will feel confused and not know how to go about making a decision about which product to buy.
At its most basic, choice overload is a problem because it leads consumers to make decisions based on emotion rather than logic. This can be detrimental to your business since rational decisions make better customers.
No, not yet. A Stanford researcher questions the "choice overload" idea. For well over a decade, consumer behavior researchers have disputed whether the ever-expanding diversity of items generates "option overload," which might actually dissuade consumers from purchasing. In a new study, Justin Shulman argues that although there is some evidence of this phenomenon happening in the real world, it does not appear to be a major driver of dissatisfaction with shopping.
Shulman's study was published online earlier this month in the Journal of Marketing Research. He says his research shows that while more choice can lead to greater anxiety for shoppers, it doesn't always translate into lower sales or ratings for products.
"Our results suggest that choice overload is unlikely to be a significant concern for most consumers today," Shulman said in an email interview with Business Insider. "Although there are benefits to having many options available, such as increased selection and price sensitivity, these advantages may not be enough to justify concerns about choice overload."
Shulman pointed out that while many studies have shown that more choice is associated with less satisfaction, his research is the first to look at how this relationship plays out for specific product categories. His study included data on users' ratings and reviews of clothing brands on Priceonomics.com and findings were consistent across several different measures of satisfaction taken from both reviewers and non-reviewers of brands.
Although an explosion of consumer options means we sometimes get exactly what we want, too many options can also overwhelm us to the point where we choose nothing at all, and in the worst-case scenarios, may even erode our well-being, according to a new line of research by psychologists critically examining today's consumer culture.
Their conclusion: Too much choice is actually bad for you.
In their paper, "The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less," authors Michael E. Argyle and David A. Cook note that although more choice is usually viewed as a benefit, it can also be a curse if we don't know how to decide. They write that considering all our options leads to anxiety and that choosing one thing over another results in regret.
They also claim that too much choice causes us to make decisions based on superficial factors rather than the best option for ourselves. For example, they say we often pick brands instead of products within those brands because they offer so many choices that it's difficult to compare them.
Furthermore, they argue that having many choices available can lead us to believe that we are not good enough or smart enough to make a decision, which then creates stress.
Last, but not least, they conclude that too much choice can also affect our well-being in negative ways by causing us to feel overwhelmed with uncertainty about what to buy next or eat next.
Having more options gives individuals the impression that they have greater control over what they buy. And customers adore the idea of choice; the more possibilities there are, the more likely it is that they will find something that is right for them. The truth is that having more choices can actually be a pain for most people. There are so many options out there that looking at all of them becomes overwhelming quickly. However, having more choices means that you are giving consumers what they want: products that fit their needs and desires.
The more options you have, the harder it is to make a decision. This is because each option has its own set of advantages and disadvantages, and it is difficult to evaluate which one will work best for you. For example, if you like traditional cars, but your friend likes a new one, then which one would you choose? It might depend on the model, or whether the color or equipment package is important to you. There are so many factors to consider that it can be hard to decide!
The truth is that having more options isn't always a good thing. If you throw too many products at customers, then they won't be able to make a choice and will feel pressured into buying something they don't want or need. Also, including too many choices can lead to customer confusion between similar products, which can cause problems for sales figures.
Having too many alternatives causes us to procrastinate and postpone making a decision. "We choose not to select even when it is in our greatest self-interest," Dr. Iyengar explains. And this loss is hard to overcome once it has been done.
There are two ways to avoid offering too many choices: limit the number of products or services you provide, and make sure each choice is meaningful to your customer. For example, if you sell clothing, you could limit yourself to five styles of shirt. This would allow you to keep an array of options while still being clear about which style you will be selling at any given time. The more options we have, the harder it is to make a choice, which means less buying and more waiting around!
Offering too many choices can be problematic for several reasons. First, it can cause customers to delay making a purchase until everything is on sale or included in a package deal. This is called "wasting value" because you're giving your customers free goods or services they might not have bought had there been fewer choices to begin with. Second, it can lead them to buy things they don't need, like extra shirts that will go straight into the trash. Finally, it can cause us to pick a product or service just because it's available, rather than because it's the best option out there.