Consumer behavior: Less is more

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Consumer behavior: Less is more
Consumer behavior: Less is more

Less is more

The bigger the selection, the more dissatisfied the customers. Why? Guilt is literally spoiled for choice, say American scientists.

A purchase decision can put us under uncomfortable pressure, says Alexander Chernev of Northwestern University in Evanston. On the one hand we have to decide on a shop – for which we want the greatest possible flexibility – and then again on certain products from their range. And that becomes all the more difficult the more the shelves overflow. Sometimes, according to the scientist, we would rather do without than withstand the pressure to make decisions [1].

And targeted advertising can't really prevent that, say my research colleagues Leonard Dee and Dan Ariely from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Because only in the entrance area of a shop did we allow ourselves to be guided by advertising. Later, between the shelves, we are hardly receptive to bait offers. By then, our desire to buy would have been so strong that we were no longer distracted by colorful promises [2].

All in all, it seems, a plea for the corner shops of yesteryear, when shopping was still easy. Because there you only had to decide between pasta or rice, not also between Barilla, Buitoni, Birkel and Co.

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