Conversion Optimization

13 Brilliant Ways to Overcome Choice Paralysis in eCommerce (2024)

Dive into various strategies on how to overcome choice paralysis to improve eCommerce conversion rates.

13 Brilliant Ways to Overcome Choice Paralysis in eCommerce (2024)

Let’s play a quick game.

In 10 seconds, how many toothpaste brands can you name?

If you named more than five brands, then good for you. 

However, when it comes to actually buying toothpaste, so many options can just create more confusion and frustration. 

what is choice paralysis, decision paralysis, definition of choice paralysis

Recently, Netflix found a loophole to doom surfing. They rolled out a shuffle button feature, which plays a random series or movie based on a customer’s consumer data. This means customers don’t have to continuously surf and get confused.
Let’s explore more ways to avoid the paralysis by choices and convert shoppers into buyers.    

13 Ideas on How to Overcome Choice Paralysis & Boost Sales 

Now that you understand what choice paralysis is, let’s dive into various strategies to improve eCommerce conversion rates.  

1) Think Readability With Responsiveness 

Hick’s Law, a principle often used by UX designers - Think Readability With Responsiveness 
Hick's Law

Your eCommerce website is the new business card. If the website layout is crowded, then it overwhelms customers right away. 

Enter Hick’s Law, a principle often used by UX designers. It states that when people are faced with too many choices, it consequently increases decision time. We will expand on this in the next point as well.  
However, on web pages, this principle can help you build eCommerce stores that are easy to navigate. This means choosing the most important features and showing priority information that gets the customers to the CTA in a short frame of time. 

Think of Netflix’s ‘Top 10 in your Country’ section. It lets viewers know which shows are trending and watch them right away. 
Besides that, using a contrasting color palette and readable text will play in your favor.      

💡ConvertCart Pro-Tip:

Design websites for better readability. You can adjust the same content and design according to the screen size. So, you can build a four-column layout on a large desktop computer screen, a three-column layout on a smaller laptop screen, a two-column layout on a tablet screen, and a single-column layout on a mobile phone. 

2) Curate Product Options to Reduce Decision-Making Time

Curate Product Options to Reduce Decision-Making Time - The Jam Experiment

Ever heard of ‘The Jam Experiment’? 

“In California, researchers ran an experiment in a local grocery store with a jam stall. On some days they kept six flavors of jam while on other days they offered 24 variants. 
On days where they sold 24 flavors of jam, the results showed only a four percent conversion rate. But when they displayed six flavors, the conversion rate increased to a staggering 31 percent.”
However, the moment we tell eCommerce businesses to limit their product list to avoid decision paralysis, there’s instant hesitation. It’s hard to digest that less is more. 
Here are some ways you can build high-converting product results:

  • Show the number of search results on top 
  • Hide some product stock and show more exact-match results
  • Add the most popular products in the side banners 
  • Add prompts under the products in search results like “Selling Fast” or “Only 3 products left”
  • Maximize product images when customer’s hover over the product  

💡ConvertCart Pro-Tip:

Most eCommerce stores show product ads in search results before the product list. However, avoid using gimmicky words like ‘top selling’ and ‘best’ because that’ll just put off customers and disrupt their shopping experience. Research similar product copies and keep them relatable.       

3) Reshuffle Product Categories for Better Product Discovery 

A survey of over 30 top U.S eCommerce websites concluded that category pages drive 413 percent more estimated traffic than product pages.  

However, you need to build product categories that don’t overwhelm customers. Too many products under a category can just make customers doom-scroll and cause decision fatigue. 

So, if customers are searching for ‘laptops’, you can have categories such as ‘best-selling laptops’, ‘Up to 60% off laptop and accessories’, and ‘newly launched laptops’. This lets customers choose a relevant category and move ahead in their shopping experience. Go through your analytical data to see which products get the most traction. If the products fall under a relevant category, then group them to form a category page. It’ll help in product discovery and customers can browse with purpose.  
You can also promote categories through banners on homepages to direct them towards particular products.  

💡ConvertCart Pro-Tip:

We have seen great results with thematic product categories. While bestselling and trending do get traction, go one step further. You can create thematic product categories such as ‘Valentine’s Day Gifting Specials’, ‘Halloween Spooky Deals’, and ‘Thanksgiving Dinner Sale’. 

You might also like: 12 ideas for building high-converting category pages

4) Cover More Than Keywords

eCommerce stores need to offer relevant products before customers become paralyzed. 

To make sure your particular product pops up earlier than similar products in search results, it’s important to not just match keywords but also features, synonyms, and misspellings of the product.  

For instance, customers are looking for an induction countertop with a touch sensor feature. This means they won’t search for ‘induction countertop’ and look through subpages of different product styles. Instead, they might type in ‘induction countertop with touch sensor’ or ‘induction stove with touch screen’ or a combination of both. 

In such cases, your search results need to show relevant products. While you can’t read every customer’s mind, you need to make sure search results closely resemble their needs and not confuse them with too many choices.   

💡ConvertCart Pro-Tip:

There’s a simple way to increase the number of keywords and synonyms on your product page without stuffing. Add a brand story, detailed product descriptions with FAQs and certifications.          

5) Build Interactive Product Filters to Avoid the Dreaded Zero Results

Some customers purchase with intent and they know exactly what they want. 

Think of it, if a customer is looking to buy a notebook set, they might require certain specifications. You can use product filters such as reviews, number of pages, materials such as leather, and if it’s wire-bound or spiral bound. Furthermore, let users apply more than one filter at once.

Moreover, about 20 percent of the US’ top eCommerce websites lack thematic filters. If we are running the same example, you can add filters like ‘back to school’ or ‘monthly organizer’.  

💡ConvertCart Pro-Tip:

Don’t let your customers land on the zero results page. While you cannot avoid it completely, minimize the number of zero results. Do a user test and try different product filter combinations to see how many products pop up in every result. 

Hey, you'll love this: 10 smart ideas to improve eCommerce filters (and 7 lessons from Amazon)

6) Play with Small Nudges of FOMO 

Play with Small Nudges of FOMO - 13 Ideas To Not Let Choice Paralysis Harm Conversions

A report shows 60% of customers purchase because of FOMO, mostly within 24 hours.

Most eCommerce brands use FOMO to make customers think that they are losing out on an amazing opportunity. It motivates customers to take action and buy before anyone does. 

UX cues can help build an eCommerce store that lets customers decide what to buy and not feel left out. Here are some ways you can entice customers and leverage sales:  

  • Show which products are trending in different categories 
  • Create urgency with copy like ‘ONLY 5 LEFT’ under the price 
  • Offer first-time buyers a discount 
  • Add a ‘bestseller’ section according to location and seasons 

💡ConvertCart Pro-Tip:

If you sell products such as packaged foods and cosmetics, try the product samples route.  

Recently, Costco brought back (yay!) its beloved strategy by offering free samples in small white to-go bags (pandemic aftereffects), so customers can carry them out instead of eating in the store. 

While FOMO often works, customers might still be unsure of trying a new product. A product sample, either paid or free, lets them use the product with minimum investment. And, if happy, they’ll purchase the whole product without hesitation.           

You might also like: 14 ways of using FOMO To boost conversion rates

7) Personalize More Than Adding a Customer’s Name 

elf cosmetics live chat - 13 Ideas To Not Let Choice Paralysis Harm Conversions

Due to COVID 19, while shopping online has become a norm, customers are missing the personal touch.

When we say personalization, it’s not just about incorporating a customer’s name. Rather, curate experiences that help customers to choose products. See above how e.l.f cosmetics lets customers talk to a ‘beauty advisor’ through a chat widget. The chat offers different categories to get the conversation started and then offers customized product options that suit a customer’s requirements.  
You can also incorporate a product matching quiz to help customers discover personalized products. Trade Coffee utilizes a quiz that lets the brand know their customer’s preferences and accordingly suggest products. 

💡ConvertCart Pro-Tip:

If your eCommerce store sells internationally, then be mindful and look for multilingual translation features while choosing a live chat tool. This way, customers know that they can communicate with your brand without a language barrier.  

8) Show Product Comparisons to Help Make a Decision 

Show Product Comparisons to Help Make a Decision - 13 Ideas To Not Let Choice Paralysis Harm Conversions

Product comparison charts aid in buying decisions. Without a product comparison chart, customers will go wading through different product pages. They might never come back to your product page. 

Through detailed comparison charts, customers can see a summary of a product’s features and understand which product fares better. Also, add ratings under every product in the comparison chart. You can make the ratings clickable and direct customers to the reviews. 

💡ConvertCart Pro-Tip:

For regular and repeat customers, you can set up product recommendations after the search results. However, it needs to be based on your customer’s historical data. For instance, a customer habitually searches for yearly diaries at the end of the year. Then set up algorithms that analyze their shopping history and recommend products like calendars and stationery from oft shopped brands.

9) Suggest Creative Product Bundles to Increase AOV   

Suggest Creative Product Bundles to Increase AOV - 13 Ideas To Not Let Choice Paralysis Harm Conversions

Product bundling is a smart way to boost your eCommerce sales.    

For instance, you might be launching the latest smartphone. You can add a screen guard, earphones, and extendable cable and create a product bundling. You will need to establish USPs for the product bundles. It can be price-based, such as a discount code. Or it can be value-based, such as gift sets during the holiday season. 

eCommerce stores can increase average order size: 

  • Add a ‘frequently brought together’ section under the product description
  • During checkout (relevant to what’s in the cart), or
  • Welcome pop-up during a sale. 

💡ConvertCart Pro-Tip:

Name your product bundle that offers the right mix of creativity and value. For example, ‘Epic Home Office Bundle’ attracts more attention than ‘Back Cushion & Double Seat Bundle’.  

Hey, you'll love this: 10 product bundling ideas that actually work (with examples)

10) Reduce Hesitation Through Convenience 

So, you got customers to purchase products. However, some customers are regretting their choices. In fact, 73% of online shoppers said that a return policy affects their choice to purchase from a retailer again.

Here are some ways you can make the shopping experience smoother:

  • Don’t use complicated legal jargon.
  • Provide home pick-up service for returns and exchanges.  
  • Outline the returns process step-by-step. 
  • Offer instant refunds when the return package is processed.
  • Display the return policy prominently on the product page rather than a different landing page and establish an appropriate returns window. 

💡ConvertCart Pro-Tip:

You want your customers to come back and not abandon after a return. So experiment with alternatives by offering only exchanges or store credit. For customers who joined a loyalty program, you can also expand the returns window.  

11) Perfect your CTA Button   

Perfect your CTA Button - 13 Ideas To Not Let Choice Paralysis Harm Conversions

The call-to-action button can be your deal-breaker. A functional CTA button triggers an immediate response and also communicates the message. 

Here are some insights to build the perfect CTA:

‘Sign Me Up’ adds a slightly more personal touch than an abrupt, ‘Sign Up’. 

See above how Grey Goose adds a little branding to their CTA with the ‘Let’s Celebrate’. Give offers to push a sale, such as a get ‘10% off on your next order’ once you complete the sign-up 

💡ConvertCart Pro-Tip:

Incorporate security seals or words to CTAs. Words like Guaranteed, Certified, No Risk, and Protected inspire trust and consumer confidence. Displaying such ‘trust’ features assures customers that their details are protected while shopping online. 

Get your free copy: 42 Irresistible Email CTAs for eCommerce Stores

12) Give your Customers an Edge 

Give your Customers an Edge -13 Ideas To Not Let Choice Paralysis Harm Conversions

Like everyone else, customers like to be appreciated.

You need to elevate the customer's shopping experience even after a purchase. Giving them an advantage deepens engagement and creates brand recall. In a way, your customers become your brand evangelists.      

Here are some ways to get repeat customers:

  • Give customers rewards for repeat sales
  • Offer access to an exclusive product list 
  • Let customers earn referral points 

💡ConvertCart Pro-Tip:

Build a community with your loyal customers. It not only establishes social proof, but you can also use the community as a test group for effective feedback while launching new products.

13) Test, Test & Test

All these strategies can assure you some results. However, you won’t be able to understand the significance of results if you don’t run tests.

A/B testing can remove the guesswork out of which features are working best. By analyzing significant results, eCommerce stores can continuously improve user experience and understand which features help customers to overcome choice paralysis.  

Test website elements:

  • Above the fold webpage copy 
  • Marketing automation such as pop-ups, chat copy, and banners.
  • CTA button size and copy 
  • Different types of product images 

Do check out: eCommerce marketing automation: 9 underrated ideas

💡ConvertCart Pro-Tip:

Use an A/B testing tool to see if the results are ‘statistical significance’ and understand the effectiveness of testing.

Fix Choice Paralysis to Improve Conversion Rates

Choice paralysis will almost certainly lower conversion rates, so it's important to not overwhelm customers.   

So, go through eCommerce store analytics and see which product pages have a higher bounce or exit rate. Most likely, this is because of choice paralysis. Therefore, try and fix these issues to improve your conversion rate. 

Are you looking for more solutions on how to overcome choice paralysis? Learn more about ConvertCart and how you can increase conversion rate and grow your eCommerce business.

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