Insight of the Week
November 3, 2023

Justify Why Customers Reached the End of a Catalog

If customers reach the end of a catalog, they contemplate the reason. One hypothesis? They didn't like the products. Therefore, shift this rationale.

End of a product catalog with "Can't Decide?" and relevant links (e.g., Take Our Quiz, Talk to an Expert)


Humans seem rational.

Feel hungry? You eat something.

But this sequence can be flipped:

Eat something? You infer hunger. But was it? Maybe it was stress or boredom.

Humans often act, then justify with logic. This fallacy — rationalization — can be seen in cognitive dissonance and other pivotal theories (see Cushman, 2020 for a review).

It also happens in ecommerce.

If a customer reaches the end of your catalog, they might infer: Hmm, I reached the end without choosing a product. Guess I don't like any of them.

But were they disinterested? Or merely indecisive?

Help customers rationalize this behavior. At the end of your catalog, insert a statement to shift their rationale from dislike to indecision:

  • Can't decide? Take our quiz to find the right product.
  • Can't decide? Let our experts help.
  • Can't decide? Build your own bundle.

This framing will justify their behavior: Hmm, I reached the end without choosing a product. Oh, it's because I can't decide. All the products are good.

Other New Studies

  • We Prefer Renting Unethical Products - Whether it's a gas-guzzling car or raunchy movie. Renting feels less guilty than buying because we're not owning the questionable product, which would tarnish our self-identity (Kang, & Park, 2023).
  • Men Are Less Likely to Share Negative Gossip - Men are worried that other people would perceive them negatively, whereas women share negative gossip to gain comfort (Carbone, Loewenstein Scopelliti, & Vosgerau, 2024).
  • Cash Payments Reduce Variety - Customers choose the same option or flavor if they pay with cash. Why? Because cash payments are painful. Customers feel more pressure to justify their purchase, so they choose options that are easier to rationalize (e.g., their favorite; Huang, Siddiqui, & Ghosh, 2023)