Today We Look At:
What is decision fatigue in online shopping?
Exploring the Customer Purchasing Mindset: The Reality of Decision Fatigue in Online Shopping.
As we dive deeper into our Buy Button Series on understanding the customer’s cognitive processes, today’s spotlight falls on ‘decision fatigue’ in the realm of online shopping. It’s a fascinating, yet often overlooked, phenomenon with tangible implications for e-commerce businesses.
Decision fatigue refers to the deteriorating quality of decisions made by an individual after a long session of decision-making. For online shoppers, this can manifest after scrolling through pages of products, reading multiple reviews, and comparing myriad options.
A study by the National Academy of Sciences found that judges, as the day progressed, made less favorable decisions due to decision fatigue. Analogously, a weary online shopper may abandon their cart, select a default choice, or even exit the platform.
In fact, the Baymard Institute cites that a whopping 69.8% of online shopping carts are abandoned, with decision overload being a primary cause. Given today’s information-saturated digital marketplace, it’s crucial for e-commerce platforms to streamline choices and simplify navigation.
Here are a few insights into decision fatigue in online shopping:
- Online shoppers are more likely to experience decision fatigue than brick-and-mortar shoppers. This is because online shoppers have access to a much wider range of products and information.
- Decision fatigue can lead to impulsive purchases. When consumers are fatigued, they are more likely to make quick decisions without thinking through the consequences. This can lead to them buying products that they don’t need or that they don’t like.
- Decision fatigue can also lead to abandonment of the shopping cart. When consumers are overwhelmed by too many choices, they are more likely to give up and abandon their shopping cart.
How to reduce decision fatigue in online shopping
There are a few things that online retailers can do to reduce decision fatigue in their shoppers:
- Reduce the number of choices. The more choices that consumers have, the more likely they are to experience decision fatigue. Online retailers can reduce the number of choices by offering a curated selection of products or by using filters to help shoppers narrow down their options.
- Make it easy to compare products. Consumers should be able to easily compare different products to make an informed decision. Online retailers can make it easy to compare products by providing detailed product descriptions, side-by-side comparisons, and customer reviews.
- Use social proof. Social proof is the tendency for people to trust and follow the actions of others. Online retailers can use social proof to help consumers make decisions by displaying customer ratings and reviews, and by highlighting popular products.
For marketers, understanding decision fatigue underscores the importance of a user-friendly website design and clear value propositions. By mitigating cognitive overload, brands can potentially convert more browsers into loyal buyers.
Tackling the enigma of the customer’s mind demands attention to such nuanced factors. As decision fatigue reveals, sometimes, less is indeed more.
Vohs, K.D., Baumeister, R.F., Schmeichel, B.J., Twenge, J.M., Nelson, N.M., & Tice, D.M. (2008). Making choices impairs subsequent self-control: A limited-resource account of decision-making, self-regulation, and active initiative. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 94(5), 883–898.
Danziger, S., Levav, J., & Avnaim-Pesso, L. (2011). Extraneous factors in judicial decisions. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 108(17), 6889-6892.
Baymard Institute. (2021). E-commerce Cart Abandonment Rate.