Avoiding Inciting Paralysis by Analysis
You go to an electronics store primed to buy a new 42-inch high definition television. You’ve already decided what you want. Then a sales associate, trying to up sell you, bombards you with information on several more expensive models.
Confounded and confused, you leave the store without a TV.
You’ve just experienced the paradox of choice.
People can usually choose between two or three options; but decisions become more difficult when confronted with dozens of possibilities. Ironically, customers do want more choices. But merchants must curate them carefully to avoid inciting paralysis by analysis and losing the sale altogether.
Make Additional Information Optional
As a merchant, you want to give your shoppers as much information as they need to secure a purchase. But every shopper is a little different. One customer might want to pull the trigger quickly, while another might want to muse over the minute details.
Giving prospective buyers the choice of reviewing as much or as little information as they please will balance this out. This can be achieved by training sales associates to “read” customers, or by placing buttons on your ecommerce site for more/less information.
Eliminate Coupon Codes
If you run an ecommerce site, this next tip might surprise you. To avoid paralysis by analysis it’s better to nix coupon codes. While coupons are great for getting brick-and-mortar shoppers in-store, online coupon codes may actually delay purchases as thrifty consumer look for discounts. If they can’t find the deal they want, they might not buy. In some cases, coupon codes can be just another aspect of the decision-making process and delay purchases.
Present A Clear Path To Check Out
Speaking of purchases, it’s vital to provide shoppers with a clear path to the cash register. If you are an e-store, this means removing all distractions from the checkout page, so shoppers have nothing to do but enter their payment information. Use free website themes from brands like Shopify to refresh and simplify the look of your checkout page. If you run a physical store, it means avoiding selling past the close. When a customer makes a decision, stop selling.
Resist Suggesting Similar Products
Sometimes add-ons and upsells are a boon to your business, especially when they are simple (Do you want fries with that?). But if a shopper is stuck between two television models, it doesn’t help to introduce third, fourth and fifth options. This is true whether you are operating online or in the downtown shopping centre.
Post Customer Reviews
When shoppers get stuck, they tend to listen to people like them – other consumers. Brick-and-mortars sometimes put customer ratings on their most popular products. This could be a sticker that says, “rated 4/5 stars on Amazon.” E-stores use the same principle in their customer review sections, which should be a staple on each product page.
The goal here is to avoid inciting paralysis by analysis and scaring your customers. And yes, it can be tricky. You have to provide enough information to help them feel they’ve made a regarded decision. But you must stop short of giving them so much information they can’t decide at all.