Today’s online shoppers are overwhelmed with choices and the product information presented to them. The number of choices along with the time it takes to research them all actually decreases sales and increases cart abandonment. This is called the Paradox of Choice. Using tools such as sales chat lead to focused conversations with customers that narrow the number of choices and guide them to the perfect product.

Going to Amazon the other day to pick out a sweatshirt, I was overwhelmed by the number of choices. You are welcome to try this. Type “sweatshirt” into Amazon. It returned 90,000 results. That right, 90,000 results for sweatshirts! Amazon does a great job of ranking and recommending products, but ultimately you get lost, can’t find the perfect product, and ultimately abandon the search. Or, worse yet, I purchase something, but have immediate regret and continue to do more research, ultimately canceling the order or returning it.

How can you provide choices but not overwhelm your online shoppers? Having a product expert or personal shopper that they can talk to through live chat can guide online shoppers to find the perfect product which leads to increase conversions 6-10X and add 5-12 percent to your online revenue. And you have earned a customer for life.

The Paradox of Choice: why more is not merrier

Paradox of Choice: When Choice is DemotivatingMany times, having a choice is a bad thing and ultimately leads to indecision. I think of the Cheesecake Factory’s menu. Cheesecake Factory is a good restaurant, but they ultimately have a problem. New customers are simply paralyzed by all the choices in the phone-book style menu. This leads to slower table turnover rates when patrons take too much time just deciding what they want.

To exemplify this problem, take a look at the Jars of Jam study (aptly named, When Choice is Demotivating) by Sheena Iyengar, a professor of business at Columbia University, and Mark R. Lepper, of Stanford University, who wanted to understand decision-paralysis and the effects option-overload has on decision making and post-purchase satisfaction.

When shoppers were presented with six types of jam about 30% purchased. When they multiplied their offering four times (to 24 jars), they did see more shoppers stop and look, but they also found that only 3% of those shoppers purchased.

This is the Paradox of Choice. The more options you offer, the less-likely shoppers will buy.

Use online sales chat to narrow options

The first way to overcome the Paradox of Choice is to simply reduce the number of options presented to online shoppers. But we all know as ecommerce professionals, that your brand will simply not quit when presenting options to consumers.

There are ways to help your customers through the process of narrowing down options from the larger catalog of product and product options. Providing sales chat to your online store allows access to a live personal shopper who will guide your online shopper to the right products or a smaller subset of the overall catalog.

Using Needle for online sales chat gives you even more ways to make product recommendations in real-time. Needle uses advocates, expert, or super-fans of your brand to chat with your online shoppers. Using advocates provides your customers with a trusted advisor who will guide them through product selection based on their immediate needs. Through product recommendations and expert tips, consumers are directed to the best product fit.

Customers who avoided the hours of product research and were guided to the best choices that match their needs now have confidence in their purchase. No more buyer’s remorse or returned products. No more remorse research after the product has been purchased. Customers are more satisfied and revenue increases.

Recommendation through sales chat increases the bottom line

Leveraging sales chat to engage and help shoppers simplify their options increases conversion 6-10X and adds 5-12 percent to your online revenue. Creating effective conversations between online shoppers and experts or super-fans of your brand builds relationships and puts a face on your brand. Not only will you increase revenue, but it will lead to long-term relationships with your customers who will come back and buy again. Or, even better yet, they will tell all their friends what a good experience they had on your website.

Solving the Paradox of Choice is critical to increasing sales. Having effective tools such as Needle’s advocate-powered sales chat will reduce friction, increase the average order value, and lead to a stronger bottom line.


About The Author

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Jordan K Pusey is a contributing blogger who brings 20 years of high-tech industry experience to the table. During his tenure, he has worked in IT, systems management, security, IT infrastructure, software sales/marketing, website creation, and online digital marketing. Jordan uses his extensive background in high tech marketing to provide advice and best practices, showing online companies how to attract customers for rapid growth. He's also an avid mountain biker, drummer, skier, and father of three amazing kids.