New research from The University of Western Australia shows consumers crave less choice and simpler experiences despite companies offering more options, promotions and price fluctuations than ever.
The review article, published in International Journal of Management, found that bringing down customers’ mental load across the retail journey creates value for customers as well as companies.
Dr Richard Gruner and Professor Geoff Soutar from UWA’s Business School explored the concept of cognitive simplicity to evaluate how it affects the value customers get from their interactions with companies.
Consumers are mentally fatigued from the increasing number of choices they have to make every day and Dr Gruner said companies should strive to avoid adding to this complexity.
“We found consumers are willing to pay more for, and are more likely to cherish, brands they perceive as simple,” Dr Gruner said.
“What matters more than an in-your-face presence is simplifying customers’ lives and solving their problems.”
They found a majority of buyers who did not follow through on an intended purchase backed out because they were cognitively overwhelmed by information and choice.
“Consumers tend to reward companies that drive down their mental load, and many brands, including Aldi, Netflix and Google, owe some of their success to their ability to simplify consumers’ experiences,” Dr Gruner said.
At the core, these brands make things easy and convenient for the end user through strategic and intentional decisions about product, promotion, price and distribution tactics.
“These brands consider the entire customer journey throughout their organisation and are in turn often rewarded with strong performance and loyal customers,” Dr Gruner said.
Dr Gruner has published an additional article in Harvard Business Review on strategies to simplify the customer journey.