Do more choices make us happier by helping us find the ‘perfect’ choice, or only leave us more confused. Understand why too many choices can lead to buyer paralysis and buyer remorse, and how when it comes to choices, less may in fact be more.
What is the Paradox of Choice?
The Paradox of Choice implies that often the more choices we have, the less happy we are with our eventual decision. There are 4 main elements of the Paradox of Choice
- Paralysis – What should I pick?
- Opportunity Cost – Maybe I should have picked the other one?
- Escalation of Expectations – Expectations multiply with more choices
- Self Blame – I knew I picked the wrong one
There are 2 main types of people, when it comes to the Paradox of choice
- Maximizers – who wish to maximize the value of every decision, and do very thorough research in an aim to make the perfect choice. This group is often most likely to face post buyer paralysis and post-purchase remorse.
- Satisfiers – who are willing to settle for a choice that is good enough. They tend to be happier and waste less time worrying over every decision.
The Paradox of choice has important takeaways from a happiness and a marketing perspective
- From a happiness perspective, this explains why people who embrace minimalism or a simpler lifestyle are often happier.
- From a marketing perspective, is that it is best to limit the amount of options we present our customers, to prevent them from going into buyer paralysis and post-purchase remorse.
Advice from the Masters – Paradox of Choice
The fact that some choice is good doesn’t necessarily mean that more choice is better
Learning to choose is hard. Learning to choose well is harder. And learning to choose well in a world of unlimited possibilities is harder still, perhaps too hard.
The alternative to maximizing is to be a satisficer. To satisfice is to settle for something that is good enough and not worry about the possibility that there might be something better
The existence of multiple alternatives makes it easy for us to imagine alternatives that don’t exist—alternatives that combine the attractive features of the ones that do exist. And to the extent that we engage our imaginations in this way, we will be even less satisfied with the alternative we end up choosing. So, once again, a greater variety of choices actually makes us feel worse.
Part of the downside of abundant choice is that each new option adds to the list of trade-offs, and trade-offs have psychological consequencesBarry Schwartz – Author – The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less
Columbia Jam Study: A classic study by Columbia’s Sheena Iyengar and Mark Lepper monitored the behavior of consumers in a grocery store. One day, the store set up a sampling table with 6 different kinds of jam, and customers loved it; another day, the store set up a table with 24 different kinds of jam, and it was even more popular than the first. The surprise came at the cash register: Customers who’d chosen among 6 jams were 10 times more likely to actually buy a jar of jam than customers who’d chosen among 24! It was fun to sample 24 flavors, it seems, but painful to pick among them. The choice was paralyzing.Chip Health – Author – Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work
Recommended Books – Paradox of Choice
Videos – Paradox of Choice
Understand the 4 elements that lead to the Paradox of Choice – Paralysis / Opportunity Cost / Escalation of Expectations / Self Blame, and how these lead to you being unhappier with your decisions when you are presented with too many choices.
Other concepts on Happiness, Minimalism, Sales & Marketing
‘1000 true fans’ is a concept that explains why it is not essential to be famous and have a huge following to earn a successful living working on your passion. In fact, all you need are a much smaller set of passionate fans (1000 for example), who become your marketing evangelists and core customers.
We live in a society that has taught us that happiness lies in more, while in reality the opposite may be true. Having too many things distracts us and does not allow us to fully enjoy the few things in life that we really love. Minimalism helps clear your mind, frees up time to do what you love and is tremendously liberating.
Most people are only grateful when things go their way, and lose out on the powerful positive benefits of gratitude. By being grateful, you shift your energy, which shifts your thinking, actions and ultimately your results. Gratitude is a state of mind, not dependent on your external circumstances.
Any sales process goes through a series of steps – from making the first contact, getting the meeting, making the pitch, handling objections to the final close. To be successful in sales, you need to learn and master each of these steps individually, to be able to ensure that a bottleneck in one part does not impact your overall sales.