Customers crave less choice, more simplicity, in retail journey

By Sarah Stowe | 16 Jun 2021 View comments

Consumers are craving simple experiences and fewer choices, despite a trend for brands delivering more and more customer options.

New research from The University of Western Australia reveals today’s consumers don’t want to think too hard in their retail journey.

With the number of choices we make every day causing mental fatigue, companies who can reduce the mental load create value for customers and themselves, suggest Dr Richard Gruner and Professor Geoff Soutar from UWA’s Business School.

Dr Gruner said “We found consumers are willing to pay more for, and are more likely to cherish, brands they perceive as simple. What matters more than an in-your-face presence is simplifying customers’ lives and solving their problems.”

Dr Richard Gruner | Inside Franchise Business Executive

The review, published in the International Journal of Management, found a majority of buyers who did not follow through on an intended purchase backed out because they were cognitively overwhelmed by information and choice.

“Consumers tend to reward companies that drive down their mental load, and many brands, including
Aldi, Netflix and Google, owe some of their success to their ability to simplify consumers’ experiences,” he added.

These companies simplify the consumer experience with strategic decisions about product, promotion, price and distribution tactics, he said.

“These brands consider the entire customer journey throughout their organisation and are in turn often
rewarded with strong performance and loyal customers.”