An Experiment In “Choice Architecture” Exposes Ideas Around Consumer Decision-Making

As consumers enter the gift-shopping season, do they want many choices or just one?

JustBuyThisOne is a shopping site that approaches the problem of the paradox of choice by limiting a shopper’s options down to one, featuring the ideas of behavioral economist Barry Schwartz who coined the term in the title of his 2004 book on consumer decision-making. Powered by the review aggregator ReeVoo, the site essentially displays the top item reviewed among televisions, vacuums, computers, and other electronics frequently turned to for gifts.

Browsing through the site one immediately gets the sense that the solution to “too many choices” isn’t necessarily “having only one choice” – the feeling that you as an individual have cognitively made a decision about what the best deal is turns out to be a critical part of the decision-making process. An interesting solution to this problem is the site’s Room Service feature, in which they promise to handle all the details of returning, refunding, and replacement.

Another idea exposed is around the notion of curation; while there’s potentially value in capturing the #1 reviewed item from everyone, though sites like Svpply and Of A Kind show the value of showing only items selected by a like-minded community. While JustBuyThisOne’s straightforward and simple approach may turn out to appeal to a number of people, it’s likely that as an “experiment in choice architecture” it will end up highlighting the importance of constructing a balance between too many options and too few.

JustBuyThisOne

[via @rorysutherland]

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