How much is too much? Consumer choice in the digital age

If there is one trend that has characterised the digital age, it is most certainly the empowerment of the consumer.

In times gone by, the choices we had open to us as consumers were typically limited by our location. For example, if you wanted to buy a new pair of shoes for the summer season, you would only have access to the shoes located in stores you could physically get to.

This limit applied to many other forms of commercial and personal activities, whether it was interacting with your healthcare provider or who you did your banking with.

These restrictions were lessened somewhat over the years by the rise of shopping catalogues and TV shopping, which gave shoppers access to goods from shops located many miles from them.

In the digital age, however, consumer choice has been truly revolutionised. And the ability to set up a business that operates entirely in the digital space has given consumers the option to buy goods and services from commercial entities located across the world.

In terms of the consequences of this climate of consumer choice, it has not only given consumers more options to choose from but has also made commercial environments increasingly competitive.

For example, in the world of online casinos the sheer volume of new gambling platforms entering into the market has driven competition, lowered prices for consumers and brought a whole host of other benefits, including an extended choice of games, better bonuses and the opportunity to experience live casino sessions. In respect to real money slot sites has a huge range variety of options for consumers. Now, no matter where they are located in the world, gambling fans have access to a myriad of options.

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This phenomenon can be noted in many other areas of commercial and consumer activity beyond the world of online casinos. And everything, from online shopping, movie and TV streaming platforms and even online banking is increasingly characterised by the sheer number of options on offer.

As competition increases, however, so too does innovation. With companies having to compete for the attention of consumers, new and exciting product offerings have to be developed to entice them.

For this reason, “consumer choice” has been identified as the next step in the evolution of digital society. This means that society will be characterised by individual choice to an extent not previously seen. In this climate, “opt-ins” and individual choice will become standard across a range of commercial activities. Gone will be the days of package deals and standard contracts!

The darker side to consumer choice?

Despite all the benefits that the increase in consumer choice has brought in the digital age, however, there are perhaps some downsides. To this end, consumer behaviour researchers have identified the negative impact that too much choice can have on consumers.

One of these is referred to as the “paradox of choice”. This is essentially a phenomenon whereby an abundance of options to choose from will negatively impact the likelihood that a consumer will make a decision as to what they want to choose. Decision fatigue could also impact whether an online shopper or content consumer has a positive or negative experience.

In light of these potential side effects, there is an acute need for online businesses to help consumers make better choices. This could be through providing comparison tools or developing algorithms that make better suggestions. Both of these could help to improve consumers’ experiences when using a particular shopping or content platform.

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It seems, then, that technological solutions will ultimately provide the answer to the problems they have created.

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