Though choice overload has been extensively studied in packaged products, fewer studies have explored these phenomena in minimally packaged agribusiness products such as potted plants. This matters as these products are heterogeneous not only across product categories but also within the same plant genus, changing the baseline cognitive load for consumer decision-making. This study uses eye-tracking technology to explore how increases in the number of options presented in potted plant retail displays affects visual attention and consumer choice by expanding cognitive load. In a within-subjects design, participants completed six choice tasks, indicating their likelihood to buy their most preferred alternative. As display size increased, participants ignored a larger percentage of the display, engaged in common choice patterns, and spent a lower percentage of their gaze sequence fixated on their selected alternative.
Staples, A., Behe, B. K., Huddleston, P., & Malone, T. (2022). What you see is what you get, and what you don’t goes unsold: Choice overload and purchasing heuristics in a horticulture lab experiment. Agribusiness, 38(3), 620-635. link.