Don’t Give Consumers Too Many Visual Choices

Online shoppers love seeing images of products, but when the number of choices is high, visuals become confusing and presentation of the options in text form helps consumers make better decisions, say Claudia Townsend of the University of Miami and Barbara E. Kahn of The Wharton School. A high number of visual options can also prompt consumers to give up trying to choose: Asked to select among 27 types of crackers, participants in an experiment were 5 times more likely to pick “none of the above” if the choices were presented visually rather than in words. Text prompts a slower, more systematic mental-processing style, the researchers say.

buying strategy

SOURCE: The “Visual Preference Heuristic”: The Influence of Visual versus Verbal Depiction on Assortment Processing, Perceived Variety, and Choice Overload


WalMart got is all wrong

I firmly believe the title above. In fact, I guess I could write a book about all the things that WalMart does it wrong.

Anyone remember when WalMart had a lounge on My Space? For people to hang out and connect? That became a joke amongst marketers because it was a big flop. No one wants to hang out around Wall Mart.

Wall Mart now is back to have cluttered isles, full of products, deal bins and tighter isles. They say this will attract more buyers because they can feel there are bargains to get. Wall Mart thinks clean environment with less clutter might be more comfortable to the client but makes them buy less.

Now, we know purchase decisions are mainly unconscious, happen on an emotional level and that because the brain uses about 25% of the body energy, it wants to save energy so it wants to pay attention to things that contrast with the environment, high visual appeal and a clear message.

When you have to search for bargains, the brain has to work hard. The emotional appeal it generates is low in contrast. It takes time and energy and makes the brain go into thinking. Well, thinking is counter productive to deciding.

When people buy from bargains they do because of the impulse of: What is in it for me. This is very strong for people but doesn’t make them want to buy from you.

Clutter  and chaos create an environment where your customers have to think too hard,  which is exhausting for the brain. They will do it if they have to, as long as  the perceived bargains and value are very high.

There are better ways to sell instead of exhausting your customers and make them waste time.

Make it easy for your customers to decide. Highlight the differences between you and your competition and have a clear message.