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"less is more" according to customer research

Image Credit: Victoriano Izquierdo on Unsplash

‘Less is more’ according to customer research

Customers prefer businesses to adopt the “less is more” mindset, according to new research conducted by The University of Western Australia (UWA). 

Mental strain on customers

While businesses often aim to provide customers with many options, the International Journal of Management research claims that this can create a mental strain on customers. However, in reducing the number of choices, a more straightforward experience is made which is valued more by the consumer.

Company value

The study found that the positive impact a simple approach had on the customers resulted in greater company value. While a variety of choices, several promotions, and price fluctuations are common, the research found this could be doing a company more damage than good. 

Cognitive simplicity

UWA’s Dr. Richard Gruner and Professor Geoff Soutar studied the idea of cognitive simplicity and how it affects a customer’s interactions with a business. They found that being presented with more choices increases the number of choices the consumers have to make in day-to-day life, leading to increased mental fatigue. For this reason, they concluded it is better for companies to limit the number of options they offer. 

“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.”

Avoiding complexity

They examined the reasons for customers backing out of intended purchases and found that too many options were causing an overwhelming experience for the buyer.

“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.

“These brands are easy and convenient to use. They carefully examine how complexity is created and use strategies to avoid it in the product, promotion, and price decisions.” 

“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.


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