Consumer behaviour: What is the paradox of choice?

Updated: Nov 12, 2019



#Consumers have a wide selection of choice when it comes to #goods and #services today, but is it what they want? Many studies indicate when faced with so many options, humans become confused and indecisive. Could our world of growing choices be adding to people's already stressful lives? 


In Mark Rhodes's book, “How to talk to absolutely anyone”, Mark suggests that people prefer fewer #choices rather than more. In fact, in a lot of cases, two or three choices would appear to be #optimum. Any more than this and the brain tends to go into overload. 


So why is it that so many choices exist in today's consumer #market? Are producers and retailers trying to #confuse potential customers, or is it a case of “he who shouts louder will be heard” as marketing #campaigns and #packaging would suggest? 


Now don’t be me wrong, choice is a fabulous thing, but like a lot of pleasures in life, perhaps it's better in moderation. In a world where we are stimulated more than any other time in our #history, the choice would seem to be “another log on the fire” feeling consumer confusion. 


So why do people choose certain products or services over another? Think tanks and marketing groups continue to ponder this question daily pouring millions of dollars into #research. Is the question that difficult to answer? 


From my perspective, I choose the product or service that makes me the #happiest. Sounds simple right? Not really, when you consider the product or service is not the only thing you are buying. Let’s take a coffee for example. Every morning when arriving in town before I start work, I like to purchase a cappuccino, sit down and catch up on my emails. When it comes to coffee I don’t like to #compromise, especially in the morning since it will affect my whole daily outlook. So what do I look for when buying a coffee? 


Well firstly, the coffee must #taste fantastic. If the flavour is positively #memorable, then my need for a great taste is met. Secondly, It must look good, just the right #balance of froth, milk, and chocolate - that’s my #sight satisfied. Thirdly it must #smell magical and send my sense of smell on an aromatic journey to wonderland. 


So is it all about the cup of coffee? One of the other key factors that also play into my decision making is the way the #product is delivered and the #environment in which it is consumed. If the person who is serving me is #friendly and cheerful there is a high chance the coffee will taste incredible. Equally, if the environment is well kept, #welcoming and the other patrons have a positive vibe about them, I will want to return to #repeat the experience. 


When it comes to choice, consumers will always choose that which makes them feel #happy. It is equally important businesses recognize that it is not just the product responsible for this, but rather it is the delivery and #attitude with which it is dispatched.

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Nick Griffin

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