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The freedom to choose: are we happier with more buying options?

The freedom to choose: are we happier with more buying options?

Article · By Linh Le on June 28, 2017

Every single day, each and every one of us will make at least one decision, regardless whether that decision is big or small.

The moment you wake up to the alarm on your phone, you consciously make a decision to snooze or to get up immediately. After that depending on your routine, you will then choose what to eat for breakfast.

What you have in your kitchen cupboard is again the result of a sufficient time spent choosing one product over another in the supermarket. So, do you choose cereal, granola or muesli, banana, apple or peach? Should you choose organic and non-GMO over other products? Should the fruits be biologically grown? Should the cereal be fortified with all the necessary vitamins ‘to start your day like a champ’? The list goes on, but you get the idea.

Choose, choosing, the paradox of choice, apple

Photo credit: Raquel Martínez

Consumers often have far too many options to choose from when it comes to buying a product; and let’s be honest, we all have been there, having decision fatigue (making less conscious decisions due to tiredness from choice overload). Decision fatigue is being not satisfied with the product we choose knowing that there COULD BE better, cheaper and more suitable products around. We all know the vague feeling of regret after purchasing something over another, and if it is not good enough then we will start blaming ourselves for choosing that particular product and feeling guilty of having done so.

We thought having more options will make us happier; the sense of freedom and liberty to choose a product among many others that can cater specifically to our needs makes us logically think that we have ‘more power’, but do we?

People are generally less satisfied with more choices (Schwartz, 2004). The fear of missing out on a better product could make us upset. Therefore the time spent weighing every aspects of one product to make an absolute decision of purchasing can end up being exhausting, and under the constraint of time and energy we make a decision out of desperation with a pang of guilt and this takes us back to the feeling of regret.

If you ever wondered why Inventshift offers about just 15 suppliers for each category we host on our marketplace, the above explanation partly gives way why we stand our ground.  At Inventshift we encourage suppliers to be succinct when it comes to offering products and services for customers – the less is more mindset has never been out of fashion.

Perhaps you are familiar with the scenario of a customer lingering and deciding which cup of coffee should they choose while there is a long queue behind – if you are the customer you would make a decision hastily to be polite to your fellow buyers and the anxious barista waiting to take you order, if you are the barista you would eagerly give suggestions in hope that the customer will make a faster decision; and if you are one of the people who are in the queue you would be frantically looking at the menu so that you can give a swift order when it is your turn and upset the least amount of people possible. This scene shows that we can be easily overwhelmed by the power of choice - what if we make a ‘wrong decision’?

The paradox of choice, choose, choice

Photo credit: Aris Sfakianakis

An online platform takes away the social pressure in such scenario, and that is what Inventshift as an online marketplace offers. As we put down the time to study and research about consumers’ behaviours and consciously make the decision of presenting only a limited number of suppliers to eliminate the anxiety of in decision-making for our customers, we invite you to do the same. If you’re a business owner, make  the smart choice of making it easier for your clients and providing a small number of well-crafted and quality products. It will make your products appear more focused and boost your chance of selling. Remember that decision fatigue does us more harm than good – either as a customer or supplier.

Inventshift is not just a commercial platform; we’re a team of passionate humans who are here to help. Reach out to us for more details, business- or community-wise. We love to create impact, and it starts with you.



Schwartz, B. (2004). The paradox of choice : why more is less. Ecco.



Article by:

Linh Le
on June 28, 2017

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