Variety Causes Purchase Abandonment

I bet you thought you were clever and that having variety in your offering was a huge differentiator. Not so…Consumers and businesses are drowning in too many choices when they’re buying something. The famous paradox of choice that I talked about in a previous post mentions several key pieces of research. Several well-known studies show that increasing the number of choice to a buyer results in a smaller purchase and reduced happiness with the purchase. So if you think being a one-stop-shop is the way to go, you’re probably suffering from a lack of true differentiator in your business.

Buyers Can’t Tell The Difference

One of the most prevalent issues with using variety as a differentiator is that it’s an oxymoron. Everyone is doing it. They’re saying “look, we can offer a huge range of products (or services) to meet your needs and pleasure”. Sadly 86% of buyers can’t tell the difference between two suppliers in a B2B situation. For consumer brands, share erosion is a constant reality that has to be propped up with never-ending marketing spend. When you’re saying that you sell everything from A to Z, you are no different.

Decision Abandonment

Cart abandonment and decision abandonment is happening everywhere where buyers are offered too many choices. Overwhelm is the buzz word of the day, both in life and in business. Decision fatigue is a very real thing because when nothing is perceived as being different about a variety of choices, the only indicator of difference is its price.

Positioning Yourself Out of Variety

When I was the brand manager for White Spirits in my 30’s, there were maybe 20 vodka brands on the market. Most of them were in our own portfolio. Vodka has no real taste, odour or colour. So how do you differentiate that? Each and every vodka brand was given a different positioning. One brand was the backyard BBQ fave, the other was for bar hipsters, another was for intellectual trend setters. They each embraced a lifestyle or a movement that evoked emotion.

Social Proof

Another way to differentiate your way out of the paralysis of decision factor is to have star ratings, testimonials or talk about the numbers of people who have bought or used the product or service. Think of where travel websites are doing all 3. They have star ratings given by past clients, testimonials and they tell you how many people are currently reserving that resort right now. All very powerful motivators to crack you out of the variety mould and get you to make a decision.

In most cases, variety is not a differentiator but a headache. The sooner you learn to differentiate using positioning or other marketing tools, the faster you can convert your prospects.

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