Today I would like to talk to you about decisions. We make them all day long. For example when we go shopping. But making decisions is not always. Visiting a grocery store can be an overwhelming experience because of all the possibilities to choose there. Which product should I choose out of 200 sorts of olive oil? In this blog I will discuss whether it is actually good to have all those different products and talk a little about my own decision making process. The question is: Do we really need all sorts of different products? Does more choice really makes us happy? And how can we cope with it?
Let me outline an example what I experienced years ago. There were two different supermarkets near my house in Eindhoven, the Albert Heijn and the Lidl next to each other. On my shopping list was just normal cheese. When I visited both supermarkets, the differences struck me.
The picture in the left is the cheese shelf in the Albert Heijn. The amount of different cheeses in the Albert Heijn is huge, some cheeses are old, others are young. Some have little fat, others more. In addition, there are cheeses with specific spice. The picture on the right is the cheese shelf of Lidl. Just cheese and the light version. What do you like to see at your supermarket?
Basicly the more different products available, the more satisfied a customer would be, right? The more diverse the range of products is, the better it may suit customer demand. But on the other hand, should there be so much products available?
Barry Schwartz – The Paradox of Choice
I found a video on youtube about the freedom of choice and the endless possibilities these days. Barry Schwartz tells about the paradox of choice. The more choice we have, the higher our expectations are about the outcome. And when we have high expectations, we are less satisfied when we end up with good products.
Personally I would rather see the cheese shelf of Lidl instead of the shelf of Albert Heijn. I just want to buy cheese and do not have detailed preferences about it. I doubt whether I would be able to tell all kinds of differences between the cheeses at the Albert Heijn shop.
About my decision making process, when I am in a shop, I categorize. I try to categorize the cheeses and try to eliminate categories from my choice. When I eliminated most of the products, I compare the remaining products on price, volume and quality. Eliminating categories is what I would recommend every shopper.
To finish a nice video of Monty Python about buying cheese in a cheese shop.