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Decision Fatigue is Ruining Online Shopping, But Existing Tech Can Help

Online shopping should be easy, but a recent survey from Software Advice reveals that it’s becoming increasingly challenging due to decision fatigue. The survey of over 5,500 global consumers reveals that consumers are overwhelmed with the sheer volume of search results, ineffective filters, and unreliable reviews, making it harder to find what they truly want.

Today’s online shoppers face a unique challenge—more products than ever are available, yet it’s harder to find the right ones even with the early promise of AI. Most global consumers start their product search on retailer websites (52%), search engines (67%), or e-commerce marketplaces (46%). However, they are met with an overwhelming abundance of unhelpful search results, including sponsored, inaccurate, or irrelevant product listings.

“This abundance creates a frustrating experience that leads to decision fatigue, causing many shoppers to abandon their carts or avoid e-commerce sites with poor search functionality,” says Molly Burke, senior retail analyst, Software Advice.

Filters impact search functionality and user experience

Search filters are supposed to help shoppers narrow their options and over three-quarters (77%) of consumers regularly use them when browsing online. But it’s an imperfect system riddled with frustrating issues—users that regularly use them report that filters are often incorrectly applied to products (45%), lack a helpful degree of specificity (44%), or are too sparse to meaningfully narrow product selections (34%).

Build consumer buying confidence through reviews

Shoppers spend excessive time scrutinizing product reviews to ensure they are genuine and helpful. Despite the importance of reviews, with price being the only factor more critical to purchase decisions, the effort to find trustworthy reviews contributes to overall decision fatigue. Notably, only 34% of respondents trust reviews made by social media influencers, indicating a need for more genuine customer reviews.

Burke advises, “Retailers need to improve their discoverability on search engines while enhancing their own website’s search functionality to better match customers with products they really want. Making reviews easier to digest helps influence purchase decisions and cuts down on costly returns.”

Bridge the gap between social media trends and e-commerce

Social media significantly influences online shopping behaviors, with 30% of consumers starting their product search on platforms such as Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok. Two key factors complicate the buyer journey. First, consumers are inspired by social media trends, but most make their final purchases outside of social platforms. Second, many retailers fail to incorporate trending social media keywords into their website, including search functionality and product information.

Rather than seamlessly connecting social media-savvy customers to their products, retailers leave shoppers to their own devices to connect the dots between what’s on social media and what they’re selling online.

Enhance site search and review management

Retailers can enhance the online customer experience by adopting advanced search software and leveraging review management systems. Faceted search and AI-driven review summaries can significantly reduce decision fatigue. These examples enable consumers to find what they need quickly, reducing frustration and increasing the likelihood of a sale.

Today we live in a T-shaped world. While broad knowledge across the ecosystems is critical, deep insights and expertise of Subject Matter Experts help organizations leapfrog. At IndiaTechnologyNews, we cover much more than news, views and analysis, and we feature SMEs to help translate their knowledge to wider audiences. Reach me at editor@indiatechnologynews.in

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