Are you helping your shoppers choose?

Getting users to your site isn’t helpful if they end up buying nothing. A wide selection of products is nice but there is something like having too many choices, counterintuitive as it may sound.)

A famous field study was conducted on this very phenomena. Two tables with jam samples were set up at an upscale market on two consecutive Saturdays. One table had 24 flavours of jam while the second table only had six.

60% of shoppers stopped at the 24-jam table while only 40% stopped at the 6-jam table. But then a curious thing happened. Only 2% of shoppers ended up buying jam from the table with 24 flavors while the 6-flavor table had a purchase rate of 30%.

Too many options lead to indecision and lost sales. Even when a customer makes a choice, they’re more likely to be unsatisfied with their purchase.

Research has found 8-12 as being the ideal number of options to choose from. Too few options make people feel cheated, but too many and you leave them in a state of choice paralysis.



1. Product ratings

Presenting your search results in order of ratings is a good idea. Having the highest rated products near the top increases both conversion rates and customer satisfaction.


2. Limited results

Searches should display a limited number of results in a single page instead of overwhelming the user with everything you have.


3. One or some featured products (your best sellers, or recommended products) at the top of the category page

Keep your recommended products few. The fewer decisions a customer has to make, the easier it will be to get their money. Fast food restaurants do this really well. They have very few menu items instead of the pages and pages you tend to find at fancier establishments.

Your recommended items should not be competing products either.

4. A guide, questionnaire, or wizard to recommend the right product for them based on their responses to a few questions

This would enable you to offer shoppers personalized products they actually care about.


5. Relevant sorting & filters

This can’t really be emphasized enough. The most sought after filters usually involve price and rating.


6. Labels (best seller, new, few left, sale, save X%…)

Labels create urgency and give lustre to a product. Research shows people are likely to buy products that have been purchased and endorsed by others. Word-of-mouth marketing is based entirely on this premise.

Sales are also a good way of attracting customers (avoid fake sales though).


7. Live chat

 A chatbot is an excellent customer support addition. It leaves customers feeling like they’re shopping at a serious establishment instead of some bootstrapped entity put together with the help of shopify templates that may go bust at any moment.


Netflix added this to their homepage.

While it’s not an ecom site, I find this one addition to be good inspiration to help your visitors make a decision.



As I saw this, I thought:

If this movie is part of the Top 10 and #2 in Canada today, it must be good, so I’ll watch it.


Lower on the page they have that Top 10 listed.

An interesting thought as to how it applies to an ecom store. This would make me want to test having a top 10 of the products on the store.



How are you leveraging social proof and reducing choices to help them make an easier decision?