Presentation Pitch · Resources & Recommendations · Tips for Retail Success

Retail Buyer Decision Fatigue: It’s a real thing!

By Vanessa Ting

We’ve all joked at one time or another about how tired we are of making decisions. It’s a REAL thing! “Decision Fatigue” is a term coined by social psychologist Roy F. Baumeister and very much affects how we make decisions and our moods.

Case in point, a few months ago when I was in the throes of wedding planning, I was overwhelmed by the volume of decisions. “Blush-pink or ivory-blush napkins? Do you want the same shade table linens or a contrasting color? Do you want to match your flowers or complement? Will your cool tone shades clash with the gold mercury glass candle holders?” and on and on. I was paralyzed by the sheer volume of options in front of me and I just stopped caring. I told the vendors to pick. And then I’d go home to my fiancé cranky, stressed and tired. Not fun for anyone.

Can you relate?

Well, this dynamic happens with retail buyers too. Especially during their buying cycles. Imagine having to select 100 SKUs for your shelf assortment. To arrive at those 100 SKUs, you probably have to sift through 500 SKUs just to narrow your options. Compound that with the number of vendors who send samples and pitches unsolicited. That’s easily another few hundred additional SKUs pouring into my inbox or the mailroom. Shoot me now.

It got to the point where I was too tired to make a decision on what to eat for lunch. I would stand dumbly at the expansive Target cafeteria hoping someone would just direct me on what to eat.

Get what I’m saying?

So considering the overwhelm a buyer encounters. What can you do to facilitate their decision making? What can YOU do to DIRECT THEM ON WHAT TO BUY?

As a vendor, your best move is to take the onerous chore out of sifting through pitches and help the buyer figure out which ones are truly worth considering. Take the buyers’ guesswork out of determining whether your brand represents good sales potential. Only YOU have the POWER to limit the number of questions a buyer has to ask to narrow in on the information he/she needs to make a decision.

You may think you have done that already. But have you really? Are you opening as many retail accounts as you thought you would have by now? Are you getting a response (yes or no) from retail buyers? Are they buying?

If you cannot confidently say yes to those questions, then you are not presenting your pitch in a way that facilitates decision making.

And based on my years as a retail buyer, only 5% of all submissions I’ve received presented the information in the way I needed it to make my decisions. So chances are, you could do a better job.

My job, and mission, is to teach as many small product companies as possible the right techniques in hopes that 5 years from now, retail buyers see a significant difference in the quality of pitches they receive. I will reduce their “decision fatigue”. And I will increase the number of stores your brand is sold in, meaning more sales for you.

So help me with my mission – and check out more information about how we can do this together


This was originally posted on


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s