6 tips to overcome choice paralysis & make better decisions

Written by Alan Buchanan

Making smart decisions when buying a product can often be overwhelming. The vast array of available options can be intimidating, to say the least. In fact, sometimes there are so many products in a single category that you may end up abandoning the search before ever coming close to making a purchase.

To help you make a better decision and prevent you from succumbing to choice paralysis, there are a few things that you can keep in mind to make your decision making process run a bit more smoothly. Whether you’re in the market for promotional products, big-ticket items or just weighing up strategy options, here are a few tips to ensure that the choices you make will reap the maximum benefit.

Set your budget

1. Set a budget

Before you start shopping, make sure that you know exactly how much you plan to spend. Nothing brings more regret than the feeling of unnecessary overspending or the realisation that you have spent beyond your means. Setting a budget will help you to restrict the items that you consider buying to a price range that you are fully comfortable with. Many websites and shops will allow you to narrow down their product selection to meet specific criteria, including price, which will help to prevent you from getting tempted by higher ticket, out of reach items. Once you know where your limits lie, you will be able to compare products of similar value and weigh the pros and cons to determine which choice suits your needs best. Make sure that you are well aware of your budget before you start the decision making process—we all know how easily we can be swayed to stretch our limits once we set our eyes on the more expensive items. Don’t allow an over complicated display or a well-practised sales pitch to break your budget! 

If you’re shopping on Hotline.co.uk…

If you’re on a tight budget then look out for our red sale banners or clearance icons on our product result pages. If you have a little more to spend then why not give the Hotline team a call – They’ll be happy to help you make a decision and answer any questions you may have.


2. Do your research before hand

Once a budget has been set, do your homework! Take the time to get online and look up and compare products—specifications, reviews, pricing—and find out where you can make your purchase. Conduct a cost/benefit analysis. Are the benefits worth the cost? Do the positives outweigh the negatives? You know exactly what you need, so make sure that you’re aware of the various options that may be available to you and weigh the pros and cons of each, within your set criteria, before you make your final decision. Find out which stores offer the best prices and, while you’re at it, peruse the online reviews. Many websites offer detailed and extremely helpful customer reviews of products and customer service that will be highly useful in making a smart decision. Ask your friends and family as well. Knowledge is power, and knowing which products are appropriate for your needs and where you can find the best deals and get the best selection will ensure that when you’re ready to make your purchase, you can make a more informed decision. 

If you’re shopping on Hotline.co.uk…

Use our handy filtering tools in the sidebar to refine your search. You can filter by colour, popularity and style to help make your buying process a little bit easier. Also, if you’re new to Hotline, be sure to check out our unbiased customer reviews on TrustPilot. You can check them out here: https://www.trustpilot.co.uk/review/www.hotline.co.uk


3. Decide how critical the item is

To minimise the risk of regret, there are two important questions to ask yourself before making a final decision on purchasing a product. Firstly, do I need it? And secondly, will this item have the intended impact? It is wise to evaluate whether the product you are in the market for is truly essential to the goals that you have set. We are all prone to making flippant and unnecessary purchases—decide if this is something that you actually need, or if you are feeling pressured to make this purchase by factors other than necessity. Weigh the potential impact of the item on your intended audience. Having an idea of the level of influence that the item you are considering may have on you or your customers will be essential in the decision making process. Your money will be better spent on a product that serves its purpose well, rather than an impulse purchase that proves to be superfluous.

If you’re shopping on Hotline.co.uk…

If you’re not sure whether promotional products work why not read our article here: https://blog.hotline.co.uk/blog/2014/08/can-promotional-products-really-build-brand/


4. Don’t settle

There will likely be many suitable options that fit your requirements, bringing the choice paralysis into full effect. Finding an adequate solution to a problem is all well and good, but to make the best decision possible, you should aim to find a solution that offers the maximised benefit. Don’t settle for adequate—know what the absolute best outcome can be and the possibilities of securing such before you settle for a mediocre alternative. Your time and money will be better spent on a purchase that is exactly suited to what you require, rather than a short-lived temporary solution that will need to be rectified (and repurchased) in the future. With the variety of options available today, it is an injustice to you and your company to buy the first thing you come across. More often that not, you will end up back at square one—still in the market for the right product.  

If you’re shopping on Hotline.co.uk…

We aim to provide a broad selection of different products with varying features and finishes. We know our products inside out so before you hit the buy button please feel free to call the team on 01202 487333 and make sure that the items you’re requesting are going to meet your specification. The last thing you need is a thousand products that aren’t quite right!


5. Use your experience

This may not be your first rodeo. Be aware of what has and hasn’t worked for you in the past. What helped you to make the decision then? Consider the factors that have allowed you to achieve success in the past and let them help you to make a better decision now. Your experience is invaluable. No doubt, you have also made some blunders and would love to avoid the same fate. Don’t make the same mistake twice—if you know what has worked for you in the past, employ the same tactics now and continue to reap the benefits. New and alternative methods or products will always come up—and there is nothing wrong with trying something new—but it may not necessarily mean that your old methods, if effective, will cease to have the intended impact. Stick to tried and true strategies and trust your instinct to make the best decision.

If you’re shopping on Hotline.co.uk…

Fancy sticking with what you know? We’ve built an online account area that lets you login and re-order past promotional items. Alternatively use our blog, our team’s knowledge and our website to help you discover something new.


6. Have a “Plan B”

You did your research, set a budget and were sure that this was the right decision. You were wrong. Now what? Smart decision makers have one thing in common—a contingency plan. No matter how prepared you may be or how informed you felt your choice was at the time, circumstances can fall outside of your control and change your position. Don’t let this be your downfall. Be prepared for what may happen. We all have a tendency to catastrophise—playing out the absolute worst-case scenario in our minds. Use this forward thinking to come up with a back-up plan to mitigate your risk. Now, if things begin to unravel, you will be well prepared to simply implement your fail-safe decision and right the wrong. If your initial decision proves to be not quite as effective as you intended, putting your contingency plan into effect will help to minimise your losses and channel any remorse.  

If you’re shopping on Hotline.co.uk…

All of our product ranges have been selected on a ‘quality first’ basis. So even if you realise that one particular product isn’t available in the colour you need it’s very likely that we’ll have another product that’s just the ticket. Be sure to click on your preferred products to get an idea of the colours available and the price for different quantities – If all else fails, give us a call and let us decide for you!

A huge thank you to Dutch Illustrator Nina van der Voorn for producing our lovely illustrations for this months article. See more of Ninas work at: http://www.kingdom-of-klah.com/