When Is More Becoming Too Much?
Reading the articles that have to be read for the upcoming lecture got me thinking about the abundance of choices we get as customers. One of the articles are talking heavily about ‘customer informedness’ and how this affects the strategies of companies. Customer informedness here, refers to the degree to which customers know what is available in the marketplace, with precisely which attributes and at precisely what price (Clemons, 2008). Companies, as a reaction, are producing all kinds of products to meet the demand of every single customer. This phenomenon is called hyperdifferentiation (Clemons, 2008). With this, I believe there is no doubt that customers are reaching their limits on how much information and choices they can process. And while this phenomonon might not be new, I believe it is currently heavily increasing due to the hyperdifferentiation trend stated above.
As options expand, the efforts required to obtain enough information to be able to distinguish between different alternatives begin to outweigh the benefit of the extra choice (The Economist, 2010). Customers are overwhelmed by today’s abundance which makes them produce high, and sometimes unrealistic, expectations or make them worry that they missed a good opportunity by purchasing either one or the other (DeAngelis, 2004). In addition, a study conducted by Sheena Iyengar of Columbia University and Mark Lepper of Stanford concluded that too much choice is actually demotivating. Customers end up not choosing at all because they find it too hard to figure out what they want. (Cutrone, 2013) One might ask why companies are still adding products to their product range knowing the above. The article written by Eric Clemons argues that companies are targetting niche markets which they can easily access through the internet. Still, for other customers, it creates an new and rising issue. I wonder how companies will try to resolve that.
In my opinion, companies should, aside from it’s focus on satisfying the demand of every single customer, also focus on building strong relationships with them. When customers are committed to a product they will most likely continue to make use of it which makes them a highly valuable asset for companies. And in the end, engaged customers are still and will always be a very important factor in being a succesful business.
Do you agree? Tell me your thoughts about this matter!
DeAngelis, T. (2004) ‘Too many choices?’, Americam Psychological Associatopn. URL visited on: September 21, 2014. (http://www.apa.org/monitor/jun04/toomany.aspx)
Clemons, E. (2008) ‘How Information Changes Consumer Behavior and How Consumer Behavior Determines Corporate Strategy’, Journal of Management Information Systems / Fall 2008, Vol. 25, No. 2, pp. 13–40.
Cutrone, C. (2013) ‘Cutting Down On Choice Is The Best Way To Make Better Decisions’, http://www.businessinsider.com. URL visited on September 21, 2014. (http://www.businessinsider.com/too-many-choices-are-bad-for-business-2012-12?op=1)