Business Tips

Breaking Free From the Decision Fatigue Plaguing Your Customers

Last updated January 2022

Use proven tactics to help shoppers declare independence from endless decision-making online and in-store. Give them the freedom to choose wisely and quickly.

With Back to School and the holidays approaching, shoppers will undoubtedly spend time online looking for the best deals. Some will venture out to stores to window shop, and others will step inside if only to tell an eager store associate they are “just looking.” But many will browse the endless aisles offered online, looking for the right products at the right price.

Yet, given the freedom to find whatever they want, many shoppers feel bound.

The question is: how can you give shoppers the freedom to transition from browsers into buyers when there is so much to see and decide?

In this post, we want to break down the endless aisle concept, define decision fatigue, and offer proven strategies to help your customer feel empowered. Help them take action during the shopping cycle — from running in circles to standing still long enough to make a choice.

We’ll also share how implementing a buy now pay later (BNPL) solution like Splitit can help your business adapt quickly to ever-changing retail demands and empower your financially responsible customers, making them confident spenders now and in the future.

Let’s start by delving into what they see when they shop.

What Endless Aisle Really Means to Shoppers

Did you know the average shopper spends 79 days gathering information before making a major purchase? Makes sense, especially with so much information to research online. Besides that, there are so many products to consider.

For example, a quick search on Amazon for a toothbrush can net 2,000+ results. Suddenly, the shopper is faced with what feels like an endless aisle of products. Should they buy a sonic-powered toothbrush? Do charcoal-infused bristles matter? Which toothbrushes are eco-friendly?

The flood of choices can lead to decision paralysis. And while some take time to research and ultimately buy a product, some give up. Hence, abandoned carts (though some never get that far).

For shoppers, endless aisles are a blessing-curse combo. Yes, there is access to so much, but it causes them to start asking questions. Questions, in many cases, that don’t get answers.

But, as an ecommerce or omnichannel retailer, this opens a door of opportunity for you.

Understanding and Breaking Decision Fatigue

Decision fatigue is real. It means that a person has difficulty making a good decision because there are just too many decisions to make.

You can help break the cycle by first understanding what decisions shoppers face.

Some of the main barriers to purchasing include:

  • Too many choices
  • Complicated checkouts
  • Sticker shock
  • Additional fees (shipping, taxes)
  • Perceived risk vs. actual reward

Of course, there are more variables to consider. The main takeaway here is to be sympathetic to shoppers — to eliminate these barriers as they engage in your sales process.

Next, let’s explore what actions you can take to combat the endless aisle and decision fatigue.

3 Proven Strategies to Convert Browsers to Buyers

Whether in-store or online, customers respond to these strategies. Your challenge is to execute them in a way that makes sense to your brand and customer base.

You may use one or more of these strategies to help your conversion rates:

  • Create scarcity — Use measures of time, quantity and difference to nudge shoppers into making a decision quickly.
  • Eliminate speed bumps — Keep the momentum of the buying process going by eliminating bottlenecks where shoppers can get stuck.
  • Bring online experiences in-store — Shoppers are returning to stores after a long period of online-only interaction. Capture the best of the online experience in-store to make them feel at ease.

Keep reading to learn more about these strategies that are proving successful to retailers just like you.

1. Create Scarcity

There is a right and wrong way to create scarcity. First, it needs to be authentic. Shoppers see through gimmicks. Second, it should be measurable in some way so that your shoppers can feel the impact, thereby prompting them to make a decision.

Here are three tried and true methods for creating scarcity:

  • Time — Timed offers are a powerful way to get a quick response. You can use a timer that allows a shopper to see a real-time countdown to deal expiration. You can limit a sale to a specific date and time or even offer an exclusive sale link that expires quickly. 
  • Quantity — If shoppers believe there is a limited quantity of something they want, it’s more likely that they will decide quickly. Showing how much stock is left on an item, especially when low, can create the visual of scarcity.
  • Difference — This requires much more thought but can invoke a powerful response. If you create a limited edition product or collaborate with a cultural icon different from anything else in the marketplace, it can create scarcity. For example, Crocs frequently collaborates with artists and other brands for sold-out clog designs you can’t find anywhere else.

The key here is knowing your brand and customers well enough to choose the best method. In some cases, you could use all three in some shape or form throughout the year.

2. Eliminate Speed Bumps

“Give them no reason to leave,” said Rob Gaige, VP of Marketing for Splitit, in a recent lunch and learn. “Don’t create your own roadblock.”

It’s simple but powerful advice to live by in the retail space. Take a look at your customer’s experience. Yes, look at each customer individually and think about how many hoops they must jump through to buy your product or service.

Less is truly more.

With Splitit, there are no applications or page redirects. It takes two clicks and about 30 seconds to complete the process. The information displayed is only enough to foster a quick decision. And, in a world where in-store offers swipe or tap and go for payment, this is critical online.

3. Bring Online Experiences In-Store

Speaking of online, customers are now expecting a unified experience between ecommerce and in-store shopping. Make it friction-free by capturing the best of both worlds.

Here are a few ideas to ponder:

  • Have a virtual POS or kiosk in-store that gives them control over product price, details and inventory.
  • Customers often use the online shopping cart as a wish list. Send their online shopping cart contents to their email that they can quickly reference in-store.
  • Offer identical payment options online and in-store. Splitit works in both retail spaces so that they can pay over time for big purchases.
  • Make deals seamless. Bring online-only deals in-store to show goodwill at checkout or give the incentives online to come in-store for hidden deals.

Creating an extreme customer service experience that flows at the speed of your shopper’s preference is a win-win situation. Give the tools they love online power by bringing them into your brick and mortar stores.

Bottom Line: How Can Splitit Help?

Wade Gurnett, Head of Sales at Splitit encourages current Splitit merchants to work with his team. He advises a key focus on extreme customer service. Make it easy for them to transact, whether they shop virtually, in-person or both.

“Whenever you have a meeting, put [out] an empty chair, think about that as the customer,” said Gurnett. “Ask them what they want, why they want it, how they want it.”

If you use that kind of focus or even think through the process as a shopper, you’ll be in an excellent place to deliver what shoppers want.

Implement Splitit Online and In-Store

If navigating through a pandemic has taught us anything, it’s taught us the necessity of nimble adaptation. 

As the retail climate continues to shift, offering a card-based installment payment alternative like Splitit becomes more of a necessity than a luxury. It can empower your financially responsible shoppers to make larger purchases while paying over time, whether online or in-store. 

Imagine how much more quickly your customers can make a decision to buy when the price barrier is breached.

Plus, they can start easily with an existing Visa or Mastercard. With enough available credit to cover the purchase, they can choose monthly terms to break up payments, all without fees, interests or a lengthy application and decision process.

Overall, it is a great way to bridge the online and in-store experience. It is simple and easy to use. It also helps your customers have more power to take advantage of offers driven by scarcity.

If you are already using Splitit online, we invite you to reach out to your Splitit contact to learn how to get involved with Splitit in-store. At present, we have the pilot rolled out to 200 retailers and counting.

Not a Splitit merchant yet? We invite you to get in touch to learn why you should be.