Research by many scholars studying consumer behavior has determined that choice overload can be a demotivating characteristic for consumers faced with a broad array of options. However this has yet to be studied at the wine retail level. Wine is unlike most consumer goods due to the large number of intrinsic characteristics relative to extrinsic ones, and the sheer number of choices in the category a consumer must choose from. Also salient is the general concept that as a wine consumer grows in experience they desire a broader range of choices.
A three-part study was designed to test for the existence of the choice overload effect: first a qualitative survey was sent to 4000 wine consumers (from a retailer’s email database) in order to establish a baseline of self- reported behavior in a wine shop environment. Next over 100 customers were observed as they shopped in a group of wine stores. Finally those same customers were interviewed post-purchase about their satisfaction with the wines they purchased.
Analysis of the data generated showed no evidence of the choice overload effect in any of the three phases of the study. An examination of how this retailer was able to mitigate and even eliminate the impact of choice overload was discussed, and points to future research in this field.Drowning in the Wine Lake:
Does Choice Overload Exist in Wine Retail?