Consumer Dilemma: Choice Overload: A Consumer’s Dilemma – ETBrandEquity | Region & Cash

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The immense opportunities brought by technology have impacted most categories, and these changes have often been accompanied by an improvement in product selection. It is a common belief in a consumerist society that the more choices, the better the choices of the individual. A product team’s practice of offering customers endless options, whether it’s ice cream, chips, soft drinks, or cars, is based on the notion that the more, the merrier.

Media is one such category that has seen this “more the better” approach more clearly with an exponential increase in content production and assortment. The number of TV channels, digital content options and the explosion of OTT is now infinite. But what happens when the orbit of the option gets bigger and the differences between those options get relatively smaller?

It can be observed that data consumption has increased almost tenfold in the last two to three years. This unprecedented growth was largely driven by media consumption on mobile devices. While consuming content on-the-go is easy and efficient, increasing competition in telecom has also made it affordable and created a pathway for the latent demand for digital consumption among Indian consumers. In addition, the advent of the pandemic has greatly accelerated the “entertainment is going online” truth. This led to an explosion of content.

In India, there are already more than 40 OTT service companies offering streaming video over the internet. However, OTT content is not the only sector experiencing this digital and e-commerce driven acceleration. Every smartphone now has an unprecedented amount of utility applications. This is where the phenomenon of electoral congestion, particularly in the ecosystem of the post-Covid digital revolution, comes into play.

A work in academic research, When choices are demotivating, can you wish for too much of a good thing? by Sheena Iyengar & Mark Leppers examines the possibility that encountering contexts that present a limited (i.e., psychologically manageable) versus an extensive (i.e., psychologically excessive) set of choices may have different motivational consequences. The hypothesis of “choice overload” on which the study is based states in particular that the provision of extensive choice options is sometimes still seen as desirable at first, but can also prove to be unexpectedly demotivating in the end. Another important finding of the experimental research study was that when people have to consider too many options, they simply strive to end the ordeal of decision-making by making a choice that is merely satisfactory rather than optimal and could lead later to dissatisfaction.

So what does this mean for a marketing or product manager? let’s find out

  1. The marketing or product manager should not confuse their consumers and therefore needs to reduce the number of choices they offer them. This applies to the number of ranges they offer a consumer, the number of features they have in their product, or the way they design the UI/UX of their application.
  2. They should offer consumers a practical method, which may not always be optimal or perfect, but sufficient to find an immediate solution. Whether it’s choices or content, the marketing or product manager should deliver it using AI and ML-based personalized recommendation systems. For each product category, the top three recommendations should be listed.
  3. Daniel Kahneman in his book – Think fast and slow – mentioned that the human brain has 2 systems. While System 1 is quick, intuitive, and emotional, System 2 is slower, more thoughtful, and more logical. The marketing or product manager should encourage the consumer to use System 1 for their products as much as possible. The more consumers use System 1 to make their product choices, the happier they will be.
  4. Multiple choices for a consumer means multiple advertising campaigns, multimedia plans, and multimedia measurement currencies for marketing managers. Marketers make life too complicated for themselves. Therefore, at some point in time, they should establish a KPI (Key Performance Indicator) for their brand.

Companies are increasingly making life difficult for consumers by giving them too many choices. There is a clear need to simplify a consumer’s decision-making process so that choice is no longer a disincentive.

At a high level, the fundamental premise of any product strategy must begin with understanding consumer behavior, which is how the consumer’s emotions, attitudes, and preferences influence their purchasing behavior. If organizations don’t do this, they will only add complexity to consumers’ lives and their own lives.

DISCLAIMER: The views expressed are solely those of the author and does not necessarily endorse them. is not liable for any damage caused to any person/entity, directly or indirectly.

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