Choice – and how much to have on hand – is a stunningly complicated problem for retailers. Too little choice, and customers undoubtedly get bored and move on to more interesting pastures. That is the basically intuitive side of choice: Consumers like and require it, so it needs to be on offer to win their loyalty.
The problem is that too much choice can be just as bad for creating customer conversions as too little of it. It’s an idea popularized by American psychologist Barry Schwartz, which basically says that in the face of too many options, consumers become overwhelmed trying to pick the “best” one. That raises their anxiety, which in turn induces choice paralysis, when the inability to deal with the overwhelming number of choices leads the consumer to just walk away rather than pick one.
As Schwartz noted, that’s a fail for the merchant that rolled out all of those choices in an effort to boost conversions, not scare off consumers.
And the team at fashion brand November Six is hoping to overcome that persistent retail problem with consistent curation along classical lines.
“I’ve spent years curating my own closet filled with classic separates, my favorite pieces being those with the best cut and quality,” said Shanen Soleymani, co-founder of November Six, of what inspired her to take her personal aesthetic and attempt to build a new brand around it. “My dedication to seeking out the best white T-shirt or the perfect high-waisted pant inspired me to start November Six.”
The concept is to create a shopping destination for consumers who have perhaps had enough of the endless scrolling approach to shopping online to find the right fit, offering simple, timeless fashions that are designed to be anchor pieces in a young female professional’s wardrobe. Seasonal shopping or themed curated edits have their place, according to the November Six team – but they can just as easily become visual clutter for the consumer seeking something relatively simple.
And simple – but sleek and modern – seems to be the site’s specialty. The lines are clean, straight and classical. The colors are muted, with black seeming to be a particular favorite. Bright-color, loud print shoppers won’t quite find what they are looking for, as it’s not that kind of collection – but November Six does have a rather diverse selection of fabrics, and a few experimental cuts for those who like their classic style a bit fashion forward.
The goods are sold direct to consumers from November Six’s site, a move that Soleymani says is necessary to make the clothes accessible and yet at the correct level of quality for what the brand aspires to offer.
“By offering a direct-to-consumer model, I’m able to inspire others to invest in a curated wardrobe that is attainable,” she noted.
But “attainable” is, of course, a relative term – and those looking to shop with November Six will be making something of an investment: The clothing is not priced like designer apparel, but a $105 navy cotton tank top is not out of the question. Its pricing is reminiscent of J.Crew (as is its styling), though with a somewhat higher-line feel, particularly in its jewelry and handbags line.
The goal, according to November Six, is to plant its flag with fashion-savvy consumers who are looking to have their fashion choices presented to them in a curated manner and at a price point that skips some of the mark-ups that have become part and parcel of the standard retail experience.
It’s an interesting strategy, though not one without risks. Choice is a tricky concept in consumers’ minds, and the right amount and the right balance is up in the air. Some scientists have come to doubt the problem of the paradox of choice, noting that in some cases, too many similar options does hinder consumer reasoning, while in other instances, it clarifies it and gives customers a clearer idea of what specifics they are actually seeking.
The building consensus is that choice is about more than numbers alone – it is also about offering the right types of choices and gradations.
November Six is very new to the market, offering its first curated collection of fashion items identified as timeless classics that aspire to bring customers clamoring to their door. Whether customers will clamor as desired remains to be seen.