Ever been standing helplessly in a store with at least 5 pairs of pants spread out around you? You’ve tried them all. There’s really nothing wrong with any of them, and you kind of like them all. But in the end, you end up going home without having bought any of them, just because you couldn’t make a decision.
The paradox of choice: When choices + complexity = confusion
According to psychologist Barry Schwartz, author of The Paradox of Choice, it’s entirely normal in this day and age of infinite choices and on-demand gratification. In his TED talk on the topic, Schwartz makes a compelling but somewhat counterintuitive argument about consumerism and complexity: too much choice is a bad thing, causing decision paralysis and unhappiness. He cites different studies that even indicate that people are less likely to buy a product when faced with too many choices.
Research on buying behavior
One of the more important examples cited is that of 401k plans, the retirement plans offered by employers in the United States. The more fund choices offered by employers offering matching 401k plans, the fewer people actually selected any fund at all, even though that meant foregoing “free” money. But other examples cited also show that having many options increases interest in the product – but decreases the conversion rate from interest to purchase.
Looking for the perfect fit
Not buying a pair of pants, or buying the wrong pair, is usually no cause for alarm. But switch the pants for a truck, a bottle washing machine, or medical equipment, and you have a complex scenario with thousands of possible combinations of features, options and dimensions – all of which must combine perfectly and be presented in an easily digestible format for your B2B customers.
So, how can we at Tacton argue against too many choices when we offer a tool that is essentially for products with many choices?
When choices + control = customer confidence
Well, we’d like to argue that an abundance of choices is likely to lead to worse decisions because people attempt to simplify their choices to a point where the simplification impedes their ability to make a good choice. That’s where Guided Selling with needs-based questions comes in.
Our CPQ software makes sure that only valid features, options and dimensions are presented in a logical, intuitive way to help focus on getting the right product. Instead of asking the customer to select the product they want (Do you want the 9-liter engine or the 13-liter engine?), we ask them about their need (How much weight do you transport?). The configurator then figures out which product matches the needs – which in turn leads to better decisions and increases the chances of a deal.