In the age of “Content is King”, marketing departments flood the Internet with product information. The current belief is that the more informed the customer is, the more likely they will choose your product. Consumers are drowning in this sea of information and many are suffering from what is known as decision fatigue. Instead of offering too much information, companies need to focus on providing targeted information to keep decision-making simple and prevent decision fatigue.
What is Decision Fatigue?
Decision fatigue is a psychological term explaining how even rational people end up making poor or irrational decisions. The brain has only so much energy to devote to self-control and decision-making. The more decisions a person has to make, the more they use that stored energy and once it is gone, the mind is incapable of making sound decisions.
Decision fatigue occurs not only when making complex decisions, such as “What car should I buy” or “Should my company explore new markets”. Any decision you make taps into your finite amount of self-control. By deciding what to wear in the morning, what you should have for breakfast, whether you should carpool to work or drive yourself, and should you stop for coffee before you get to work,… you have already seriously impacted your decision-making abilities.
Why does Decision Fatigue impact your Marketing efforts negatively?
If decision fatigue impairs a customer’s ability to make sound choices, one could be tempted to provide an abundance of information that a person is too burned out to make a decision. After all, it works for supermarkets when they put candy, soda and other impulse items by the checkout lines. Shoppers are so fatigued from making decisions throughout the store that they don’t have the willpower to resist buying a candy bar, soda or the National Enquirer.
But, the state of decision fatigue isn’t permanent. Once the energy is replenished, these consumers will regret the impulse decisions they made, which is one of the culprits of high return rates.
In addition, it has been shown that customers who suffer from decision fatigue are less loyal to a brand because they aren’t confident in their decisions and will change their mind several times during the buying process.
How Decision Simplicity Increases Sales
By simplifying the purchase process, you can ensure that consumers are confident in their purchase. A recent survey by Corporate Executive Board showed that companies who utilized decision simplicity by 20% saw improvement in three key areas:
[bctt tweet=”Simplifying the experience increases the likelihood of recommendations by 115% #CX #shopping”]
[bctt tweet=”A 20% increase in decision simplicity leads to 86% increase in customer loyalty #CX #shopping”]
[bctt tweet=”Keeping decision-making simple increases customer loyalty by 96% #CX #shopping”]
So how can you increase decision simplicity? A few options include:
- Clear comparison of products
- Concise, targeted and transparent guides
- Using customer generated content to increase consumer confidence
- Product descriptions that are streamlined and relevant in the current stage of the buying process
- Offering expert guidance to customers based on your experience and their data
By reducing quantity and increasing quality, you can still offer the information a customer needs to make an informed decision without causing decision fatigue.
One of the reasons why Apple is this successful is because they are on point with “Keeping it Simple” through and through – Buying an Apple product is simple because the offered choices and options are manageable.
A. The Product Experience: The Apple iPhone has remained popular despite the fact that competitors produce products that are cheaper, have more features and a larger screen. Apple simplified the decision-making process by creating products that are easier to use and it continues to dominate the market. Sure, there are some tech-savvy people who crave complexity and a plethora of choices, but the fact of the matter is that the majority of shoppers do not fall into this bracket and enjoy simplicity.
B. The Choice Experience: On Apple’s website and in its stores, customers find all the information they need in clear and understandable language. Rather than throwing technical specs like megapixels, megabytes, and inches at the shopper, Apple provides an easy-to-follow, benefits-oriented decision and purchase path for their products.
C. The Service Experience: Apple retail stores, online and offline, are clean and minimalistic to reduce the number of distractions. And, rather than asking “What are you looking for?” shoppers will be asked, “What do you want to do?”. This does 3 important things:
- The shopper feels that his or her individual needs are considered
- The shopper immediately relates the technology with a benefit
- The shopper is led to imagine owning the product which automatically triggers emotions
There are many ways to make the decision-making process simpler for your customers. Your company is the expert; offer shoppers your input and lead them to a good decision by putting their needs first. Instill confidence with customer reviews that are honest and unedited. Make suggestions throughout the buying process to reduce the number of decisions the customer has to make and you will create an enjoyable buying experience the customer won’t regret later.