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Too Much Choice Hampers E-Commerce Decision-Making

27 March 2019 - 09:34 by Mike Price

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Consumers may love safe shopping online in theory, but in practice they are often unable to choose which products to buy or which sites to use because of the sheer number of options that are available to them.

This is the key finding of a new study from Episerver, which found that 46 per cent of people do not go through with an e-commerce purchase because there is simply an abundance of choice that causes them to procrastinate.

A similar proportion said that they look up product information and reviews on a weekly basis yet often feel paralysed by the unending array of options that are at their disposal.

35 per cent of those questioned said that they check up on a prospective purchase at least three times before pulling the trigger. Almost nine in ten said that they research items using both the official site offered by the original manufacturer and the listing provided on a third-party retailer, such as Amazon.

Report spokesperson Ed Kennedy explained that it was clearly challenging for retailers to ensure engagement with consumers in the event of having to compete with so many different rival outlets, all while overcoming the proclivity for endless research that afflicts lots of customers.

He said that there are a number of ways to overcome this, including by providing customer reviews on product pages so that people do not need to look elsewhere to find out what their peers think about a particular item.

Of course, for consumers who already know exactly what they want to buy, this is less of an issue. Indecisiveness tends to be a problem for casual browsers rather than those who visit an e-commerce site with a specific intent to make a purchase, which means there is some leeway for retailers to exploit.