Killing Sales Thru Choice Paralysis
We’ve all been tempted by wanting to show a new prospect everything about our business in order to woo them. We want to show them our value propositions, experience, breadth of knowledge, all the cool stuff we do, and the problems we solve. But the problem is… it’s too much to filter in one sitting. The same goes for online sales and your company’s website or an ad’s landing page. Too much too soon as a big problem marketers are facing in 2018.
In his 2004 book The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less, American psychologist Barry Schwartz brilliantly argues that eliminating consumer choice can greatly reduce anxiety for shoppers. For online sales, we have the opportunity to serve up an ad or landing page that focuses on the simple question: “what do they want?” When you give it to them simply, the chances of a prospect choosing to close the sale dramatically increases (shown through your conversion rate).
The more choices a person is presented with, the harder it is for them to choose. Instead of showing an array of options, focus on the customer need and then give it to them. Serve up the solution to a problem clearly and concisely. By breaking the problem down into something small and manageable it is easier for the customer to make a decision.
If you ask someone a question like “What are you going to buy with this year’s marketing budget?” you could get any number of answers. If you ask “Will you spend part of your marketing budget on PPC?” you’ll only get a “yes” or a “no”. Asking closed questions gets conversions. Remember your website is a funnel. Don’t be afraid to lose site visitors who won’t become customers.
Driven to Distraction
It’s a myth that people can effectively multitask. Short of chewing gum while walking, people can’t actually do two things simultaneously. They end up giving less attention to both tasks and the quality of the interaction suffers. Effective design for online sales allows people to focus on the task at hand without having their attention diverted. White space actually helps the eye, giving emphasis to the area you want to draw attention. Noisy and ‘fussy’ designs may look great when presenting the annual report to shareholders, but it can actually make the user’s experience more difficult. As a result, your online sales conversion rates will suffer.
Make the path to taking action on your site easy to spot and easy to follow. Avoid interruptions or operational roadblocks of any kind. Visitors should find completing a task quick and easy, or you’ll risk abandonment when the steps are confusing, arduous or time-consuming.
Keep It Simple, Stupid
Keep your design simple and the online sales process intentional and obvious. Too much eye candy will make them wander away from closing the sale. And remember that you don’t want people on your site bumping up the statistics. Don’t be afraid to turn potential viewers away. If they don’t want to purchase your products, then you shouldn’t want them on your website.
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Note: This post was first published back in 2011 and updated in January 2018. If anything it has become more relevant in the following 7 years as we have more distractions shouting for our attention than ever.