Choice Overload: Understanding Retail Dynamics

June 3, 2018

Have you ever wondered how confused you actually are when staring at the aisle trying to choose which product to buy? or struggling to find the brand of your choice? Welcome to the world of modern day organized retail. Shopping at one place is a very convenient activity, however, it has become more and more confusing over the years.

Retail Display

There are many reasons why the aisles are crowded. Let us try to understand few retail dynamics associated with choice overload

  • With Skyrocketing real estate values, retailers foresee lesser new store openings. Hence they resort to stocking more products in existing store
  • Of all the investment the retailer makes, in building, fixtures, employees, etc. the investment in inventory is the highest
  • This avenue of investment is also the easiest to reduce or cut, during rough times

This NY Times article talks about how retailers are trying to increase the number of products in their stores, by increasing the height of the fixtures. While this might be a positive move from the perspective of a retailer, the consumer sees mile-high fixtures stacked from top to bottom with merchandise. While it is good to have options to choose from, it becomes a painful task peering over hundred different types of jam to pick just one, from the consumer's perspective.

In this TED video, Sheena Iyengar speaks about the choice overload problem and the possible solutions at hand.Source: TED

The problem of choice is one of the most predominant in the modern shopper's mind. We would like to see lesser number of products, and more of categorization as pointed out in the video. With retail segment all set to boom in the coming years, we would like to see pro-activeness from retailers to understand the mindset of the shopper, rather than just understanding demographics and its impact on Shopping experience.

It is prudent for every retailer, and more so, every marketer to realize that less is more, in terms of product variants that they are offering. They should realize that while they are one hand, offering more for a consumer to choose from, on the other, they are complicating the buying decision process.

Image Credit: Pixabay

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