The Paradox of Choice

By Adam  |  3 Dec 2015 12:00:00

Today I'd like to talk to you about a little psychological marketing fact called the Paradox of Choice. If you offer a certain product for sale on your eCommerce website, then there's a good chance that you'll think to yourself "I should offer lots of variations of this product" maybe lots of different sizes, colours, flavours or whatever. The logic behind that, of course, is that now a customer can have exactly what they want, which would encourage them to buy more from you. This all seems like it makes sense, but I'd like to tell you why that logic is faulty.


Yes, you might think that adding lots of variations to each product will encourage your sales, but it might actually discourage sales. Why? Well, you see, while you might think it's good to let the customer choose exactly what they want, the problem is that a lot of customers don't really know what they want. If you offer the same dress in twenty different colours, people will spend ages thinking about which one they'd like the best. During the decision making period, they could well think to themselves "You know what? I should probably be saving this money anyway" and then end up not buying anything - this, of course, is not what you want to happen when people visit your eCommerce website.


And that's the Paradox of Choice; logically, it makes a lot of sense that having lots of variations to each product would encourage people to make a purchase, but the indecisive nature of humanity means that this will not always be the case. Ideally, you want somebody to see something on your website and then buy it as quickly as possible; lots of variations will slow down this process. It would perhaps be ideal if you offer a small number of variations (two or three) to give your customers a more specific choice while also not making things too complicated for them. Keep this in mind and I hope your eCommerce website will continue to thrive!

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