I’m currently trying to buy a new car seat for my son. He’s about one growth spurt from being too big for his infant car seat, and I’m just a little bit overwhelmed. There are so many choices. With over a dozen brands and each brand having several different models, I feel like making the right choice is just next to impossible. And even though my need is fairly imminent, I’ve been delaying making a purchasing decision.
This is actually pretty normal buyer behavior. When we are confronted with too many choices we tend to either make the wrong choice or delay our decision. It’s like eating at a restaurant where the menu is basically a binder full of food choices from every culture under the sun. Are you ever really blown away by what you order? On the flip side, at a restaurant with a small menu where they specialize in specific types of food we probably have a better chance of getting something really superb.
Just like I don’t want to make the wrong choice when choosing a product that will play a major role in my child’s safety for the next several years, most consumers should also be hesitant about choosing products that impact their overall health and wellbeing. This is where the very nature of many independent pharmacies may provide an edge over big box stores. Your pharmacy isn’t a superstore. You may not have 20 different brands of vitamins. You may have just one or two. But that can actually be a good thing.
Here are a few important items to take into consideration about consumer psychology when it comes to choice.
Choice Overload – There’s a fairly well known study on how fewer items leads to higher sales. When offered 6 different options of a similar product, consumers were more likely to purchase than if they were offered 24 or 30 different options. So don’t stuff your shelves and clutter your retail pharmacy with dozens of options for the same basic product just because you think you have to keep up with the superstores. You really don’t. Less really is more when it comes to retail. Stock those products that you can stand behind and wholeheartedly recommend to your pharmacy customers.
Decision Fatigue – Okay, this one might be a little bit self-serving…But we don’t always make the best decisions when we are tired. This is the point when people start to impulse buy. This behavior isn’t really something that you can change for your consumer, so while some might argue, I say take advantage of it. Put snack displays, magazine racks and things like pill cutters or pill boxes by your cash registers to take advantage of inevitable impulse purchases.
The Rule of Three – It’s posited that we can only easily remember 3 or 4 different pieces of information in our short term memory. This is important to take into account when working with customers. If you’re trying to make a sale, stick with a few top benefits instead of an extensive list of features. If you’re trying to help a customer choose between products, only pick two or 3 options, not 7 or 8.
In keeping with my own advice, I’m going to stick to these three important facts to remember when I finally choose a infant car seat. Keep these points in mind when it comes to your pharmacy customers, and why they make the choices they do. I hope they’ll help you with some potentially tough decisions about what products to stock and the best ways to turn a conversation with a customer into a sale.
It’s a beautiful thing to be an independent business. From everyone here at RMS, we wish all of our wonderfully independent customers a safe and happy 4th of July Weekend!