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You and your partner decided to splurge on a fancy meal.
The host seats you at your table. It’s outside next to a tree lit up with small fairy lights.
This place is dreamy.
You open your menu and quickly find there are 3 different dishes you’d love to try.
“Oh man,” you think, “this is a tough choice.”
You ponder between your options for another minute.
Finally, you decide to go with the shrimp pasta dish. The side of garlic bread is really calling your name.
You close your menu and sit back in your seat.
Your mind switches gears from weighing the options of the different dishes to enjoying the ambiance around you.
What’s making you feel so relaxed?
In today’s edition of Why We Buy, we’re taking a look at Choice Closure—why physically closing something makes us feel like we can move on from the decision-making part of our purchase.
Let’s get into it…
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The Psychology of Choice Closure 🧠
When faced with a few different choices, the physical act of closing something makes us feel more confident that we made the right choice.
A London Business School 2013 study asked participants to choose 1 tea to drink from a menu of 24 options.
- Participants couldn’t change their minds once their order was placed.
- Half of the participants had to close their menu after they’d ordered. The other half were allowed to keep it open.
- Participants drank their tea, then rated their satisfaction with their flavor selection.
Those forced to close their menu were more satisfied with their tea than those allowed to keep their menu open.
The physical act of closing their menu created Choice Closure.
These participants felt like the decision-making experience was over.
They could focus on the tea-drinking experience (without creeping feelings of doubt telling them they’d made the wrong choice).
Inside Your Buyer’s Mind🧐
Your buyers are often faced with endless choices.
They need to evaluate many different options, make trade-offs, and decide which product is right for them.
After they make the purchase, they’re often left with a burning question, “Was this the right choice?”
Without Choice Closure, your buyers’ minds can spiral into a vortex of “what ifs…” that leaves them questioning their decision. 🌪️
Instead of being excited about their new purchase, they’re distracted by all the options they didn’t choose and worry they’ve made a mistake.
To nip that analyzation in the bud, you need a physical act of closure that stops the decision-making part of their mind and sparks the enjoyment part.
And yes, you can create Choice Closure with digital products and experiences, too. Here’s how. 👇
How To Apply This 🤑
Alright, so how can we apply this right now to sell more?
Design your choice set strategically
If you can make people feel confident in their choice you can avoid post-purchase regrets.
The Economist makes it obvious which subscriber pricing is the best by making all of the options the same price.
Subscribers can pay $6 for just the print magazine or just the digital magazine.
Or, they can pay $6 for print AND digital.
It’s a no-brainer. This decision leaves buyers feeling positive about their decision without the need for a physical act of closure.
Create a moment of change between the buying experience and customer experience
How can you create a transition moment that makes buyers feel differently after they’ve made the purchase?
For brick-and-mortar stores, the physical act of going up to the cash register creates the Choice Closure.
But for online stores and digital products, it’s a bit trickier.
Here are a few digital-friendly ideas:
- Change the colors you use before the purchase vs. after the purchase to create two distinct experiences for buyers (while remaining on brand).
- Ask your buyers to answer a question that makes them feel like they’re in a new experience now that they’ve bought your product.
- Make them feel like they’ve entered into a new experience by changing who your communications are from or giving them special access to something that makes them feel like they’re now an insider.
Help online buyers visualize their post-purchase experience
Write your calls to action to showcase the metaphorical transition from buying to bought.
Use this button as the act of closure. Mentally your buyers feel like they’re in a new experience once the button is clicked.
It’s like they’re closing their menus and ready to put all their focus on enjoying the tea they just ordered.
Masterclass could create choice closure by updating their CTA button.
Instead of saying “Start Learning,” they could say “Enter Your New Classroom.”
Even though it’s a digital experience, the thought of entering a new classroom creates a vision in the buyer’s mind of themselves walking out of the room they’re currently in.
This creates Choice Closure and helps them transform into their new identity: the person who learns highly sought-after skills from experts.
The Short of It 💥
Creating Choice Closure isn’t just for brick-and-mortar stores or physical products.
There are ways to help online buyers feel a sense of post-purchase completion too.
Help your buyers close the door on the decision making experience.
And show them how to open the *new door* to their product experience.
Until next time, happy selling.
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