Check out this customer – sales assistant conversation in a shoe store:
Sales assistant – “Welcome, can I help you?”
Customer – “Just looking for a pair of shoes”
The sales assistant wanders off and returns with a stack of shoe boxes
Sales assistant – “Have a look at these dress boots, made of quality leather. ”
“And here’s a casual street sneaker, durable and comfortable”
“Try these slippers, if you are looking for something more comfortable.”
“Or you’d like to purchase black dress shoes for weddings and banquets
“Would you like the Oxfords, or these Bluchers?”
“Wait, what about the flip flops? Or gym sneakers? Maybe work boots?”
On the face of it, that the salesperson is doing some things right. They greeted the customer, engaged them and presented the shopper with many different options, showing the extensive assortment and positioning the store as rich source for the customer’s every wants.
However, what the sales assistant is doing wrong is not listening to the shopper and not offering expert advice and instead overwhelming the shopper. Chances are that the customer ends up irritated and confused by too much choice and walk out without buying anything.
While people instinctively do prefer more choice, it never yields better choices or bigger satisfaction with the purchase. More products at hand simply create noise, hampering our ability to focus and choose what’s best for us. If there’s such a vast assortment laid out before us, it makes us want to give some consideration to every option.
Analysis Paralysis is the state of mind when people over-think a situation to the extent of abstaining from a decision.
It’s a very common phenomenon and and as consumers are increasingly exposed to information on the Internet, Social Networks and ads, businesses have to make efforts to help consumers reach a decision quickly and easily.
– Fear of making the wrong choice: Customers tend to over-analyze or over-think buying situation because they are afraid of making the wrong choice.
– Products are too complex: When buying commodity products like toothpaste or a hair brush, shoppers don’t generally chew over the decision. But when it comes to buying more complex and high-priced products such a smartphone, laptop or even a car, the situation paints a different picture. It can be quite puzzling for shoppers, especially for non-expert shoppers who are not familiar with technical specifications.
– Too many options offered: Consumers will be attracted to stores with lots of different options, but if you want them to purchase, you need to cut down the number of available options to a manageable few.
So, what could the sales assistant have done differently?
Asking need-oriented questions like “What type of shoes are you looking for?” or “What purpose is it intended for?” and presenting fewer, but more suitable options. In an environment that does not necessarily facilitates 1:1 conversations like in a physical store, you can apply Guided Selling techiques, like Mizuno, a Japanese sports equipment and sportswear company.
Mizuno prevents analysis paralysis by making an interactive shoe advisor available to advice-seeking shoppers.
The shopper is taken through several questions to determine foot type, training pace, foot rotation and many more details that are necessary to recommend the perfect shoe and fit.
TIP: Just like Mizuno does with their shoe advisor example provided above, try understanding the shopper and help them weed out options that don’t meet the needs or requirements of shoppers. In the end they will be left with fewer options, but more chances for you of getting a sale and gaining a satisfied, loyal customer.