Have you ever struggled to find the right film on Netflix and ended up dissapointed with the choice you made? Well my friend, you are not aloe. You probably experienced choice overload.
Strangely, consumers often believe that having too many options is something positive. After all, the more options the more they have to choose from. Therefore, a greater likelihood of being satisfied with your choice.
But is a huge misconception.
Choice overload is a phenomenon that occurs when people are presented with too many options to choose from, causing them to feel overwhelmed and unable to make a decision. This can lead to dissatisfaction with the chosen option, regret, and a decrease in overall happiness.
In the world of marketing, choice overload can be a major issue for consumers. When faced with too many options, consumers may become confused and unsure of which product or service to choose. This can lead to indecision and ultimately result in the consumer choosing not to make a purchase at all. Exactly as with the Netflix experience, when we sometimes give up on watching a film.
For example, imagine that you are shopping for a new pair of headphones. You go to a store and are faced with a wall of options, each with its own unique features and price points. You may find yourself feeling overwhelmed and unsure of which headphones to choose. As a result, you may end up leaving the store without making a purchase.
Another example of choice overload can be seen in the proliferation of options in the food industry. With the rise of specialty diets and an increased focus on healthy eating, consumers are faced with a dizzying array of options at the grocery store. From gluten-free to organic to low-carb, the options seem endless. As a result, many consumers may feel overwhelmed and unsure of what to buy, leading to indecision and potentially even avoiding the grocery store altogether.
In order to combat choice overload, marketers can take several steps. First, they can limit the number of options that are presented to consumers. This can help to reduce confusion and make it easier for consumers to make a decision. Second, marketers can provide clear and concise information about each option, highlighting the unique features and benefits of each product or service. This can help consumers to understand the differences between the options and make a more informed decision. Third, they can recommend content, by either allowing the filtering of options or actively recommending them through smart systems.
Exactly as Netfilx does with its “play me something” option.
In conclusion, choice overload is a common issue in the world of marketing. When consumers are presented with too many options, they may become confused and indecisive, leading to dissatisfaction and a decrease in overall happiness. By limiting the number of options and providing clear information about each option, marketers can help consumers to make more informed decisions and avoid the negative effects of choice overload.
Interested in learning more? Here are some fascinating studies on choice overload I would recommend:
Besedeš, T., Deck, C., Sarangi, S., & Shor, M. (2015). Reducing choice overload without reducing choices. Review of Economics and Statistics, 97(4), 793-802.
Bollen, D., Knijnenburg, B. P., Willemsen, M. C., & Graus, M. (2010, September). Understanding choice overload in recommender systems. In Proceedings of the fourth ACM conference on Recommender systems (pp. 63-70).
Chernev, A., Böckenholt, U., & Goodman, J. (2015). Choice overload: A conceptual review and meta-analysis. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 25(2), 333-358.
Scheibehenne, B., Greifeneder, R., & Todd, P. M. (2010). Can there ever be too many options? A meta-analytic review of choice overload. Journal of consumer research, 37(3), 409-425.