Technology is advancing daily, not too long ago, we had the keypad phones where you had to press the buttons each time you wanted to type a message.
But look at what we have now, features where you can talk to your phone to type a message.
Multiple features are added in every new smartphone that is introduced, features that we may not even be using on a daily basis, but while buying, we want to have a phone that possibly provides 100 features or more.
What happens then?
The phone is loaded with so many features that eventually it dies out, the phenomenon is referred to as ‘Feature Fatigue’.
It’s based on a study that reveals, consumers tend to provide more weight to capability than usability and end up choosing products that do not maximize their satisfaction.
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Make it easier, please?
How many times have you purchased a product because it was flashy?
Because your friend has the same one?
Because owning a particular product denotes higher living standards?
It's OK to accept that we all have done this at some point in time.
What we fail to realize in the bargain, is that not everyone is as equipped to deal with a complicated product.
Even though a feature may not add up to the functionality as much, the complexities involved with it can be mind-boggling.
So simply put, Feature Fatigue is a situation where consumers prefer to not opt for a product with too many features because they are scared that they might not be able to use it.
This phenomenon can be analyzed through both the following lenses:
a) Consumer lens
Some marketers tend to attract consumers through various options of ‘customization’ that their product provides, thereby creating a sense of ownership.
A consumer then wants to own this product, because who doesn’t wish to be placed in the ‘creator’ category?
b) Marketers lens
Marketers need to bridge the gap from making the product sound appealing at the start, with the addition of multiple features, to customer satisfaction in the long run, of utilizing those features.
So while it's all nice to talk about 100 things your product offers, it's important to keep it simple and to the point.
A brand that succeeds is the one that highlights the main feature to the fullest and then talks about the others at a mediocre level.
Let's look at refrigerators as a product.
What is the main problem they aim to solve?
Food getting spoiled if not refrigerated?
Keep it to that.
Yes, you can add features with different spacing compartments within the refrigerator, better cooling, faster ice formation, etc.
But when LG refrigerators introduced TV as a feature, was it too much to offer?
In my opinion, yes, having automated options for something as simple and basic as a refrigerator is bound to bounce back because consumers do not wish to invest a lot of time in understanding a product instead of just using it.
Just ask yourself, if you are gifted a choice to pick an audio player with a 4-page manual and 10 features or an audio player with a 12-page manual and 21 features, which one would you pick?
The former in most cases, even if you pick the latter one it’s quite unlikely that you would use more than 10 features of the same!
What is the solution then?
Should brands not evolve with time, thereby providing a lot of options?
No that’s not what is expected from brands.
But brands or rather marketers specifically need to put themselves in the consumer's shoes and answer the question of ‘what is enough?’ and communicate only that.