Buyer’s Remorse: 6 Tactics to Make it STOP

Buyer’s remorse is more relevant than ever.

Ever added something to your shopping cart, only to regret it moments later?

Trust us, you’re not alone. 

According to a study done by Forter and OnePoll, Americans only buy 58% of products to their online cart. 

As an eCommerce business, you may ask yourself — what’s behind this behavior? And what can I do to minimize it?

Let’s first start by defining what buyer’s remorse is and how it impacts your sales.

What Is Buyer’s Remorse?

Simply put, buyer’s remorse is when a customer regrets making a purchase.

For example, they may regret how much money they spent, or are disappointed by the product itself.

Here are the two main factors that influence this behavior:

1. Cognitive Dissonance

Many psychologists agree that buyer’s remorse mainly comes from cognitive dissonance. This happens when our brain expects a specific outcome, but instead gets something different.

For example, a buyer could buy a jacket online because it looks great. But once they receive it, they may realize that it’s too big or the color doesn’t fit them.

2. Paradox of Choice

Choice paradox kicks in when online consumers have too many options in their hands. 

Image: Jon Tyson

The modern buyer has more choice than ever before. As a result, many get easily overwhelmed by what to buy. They might decide to return your item to pick something better, or not even make a purchase at all.

What Can I Do to Prevent Buyer’s Remorse?

Buyer’s remorse can trigger customers to return items, which could cost you time and money. It’s even worse during holiday seasons, where you can expect more than a third of ordered products to be sent back.

However, there are many tactics at your disposal to minimize it. In this blog post, we’ll cover six tactics you can use to overcome buyer’s remorse and stop losing customers.

Read on to learn more.

1. Conduct Customer Surveys

Let’s be real here. 

How well do you know your audience? What are their needs, and how do you help meet them?

One of the best ways to avoid buyer’s remorse is to run customer surveys. It’s a tool you can use to learn more about your audience’s needs, so you can find better ways to deliver what they want.

Let’s take a look at an example from Amazon:

Amazon does its best to collect information from users so it can improve its service. This helps prevent customers from making the wrong choice during their shopping experience.

Here’s another customer survey example from retailer Nordstrom:

Thinking about running a survey, but don’t know what to ask? Here are examples of questions you can request to customers:

  • What is your biggest challenge in finding the right product?
  • What made you choose our product or service?
  • Did you take a look at the competition during your research?
  • What features does our product or service lack?
  • What questions or doubts did you have during the buying process?
  • How can we improve our product, so it better fits your needs?

Once you get this information, it’s up to you to adapt and make changes. For example, you could improve your product, or write a FAQ page answering all the questions customers may have before their purchase.

2. Focus on Benefits, Not Features

Copywriting can have a powerful effect on your conversion results. It builds trust with customers and reassures them that your product is the right choice.

However, one common copywriting mistake is to confuse benefits with features. Here is how each one differs from the other:

  • Features: Features are characteristics of your product such as its appearance and abilities. For example, a refrigerator’s features might include speed chilling and temperature controls.
  • Benefits: Benefits, on the other hand, answer why those features matter to the customer. They describe how the product could help them reach their goals and solve their problems.

Let’s take a look at Intelligent Change’s product description for their Five Minute Journal:

Notice how the copy focuses on benefits: ‘be happier,’ ‘improve relationships,’ etc. Instead of only discussing features, the text explains how the journal could change the customer’s life.

Why You Should Focus on Benefits in Your Copy

Online customers pay for benefits, not features.

As Theodore Levitt, world-class professor at Havard business school, once said:

“People don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill. They want a quarter-inch hole!”

To avoid cart abandonment, reassure the customer that they’re making the right pick. You do this by highlighting the benefits of your product and why they matter.

To help you out, start by writing down a list of features of your product or service. Next, write down a list of results that come with each feature and find ways to include them in your descriptions or post-purchase emails.

3. Offer Coupons and Promotions

Online buyers want rational reasons to justify their purchase. You can help them do this by offering coupons and discounts they can use in the future. 

Special offers make it easier for customers to pull the trigger. By offering them coupons when they make a purchase, you’ll turn them into repeat customers who’ll come back for more.

According to a study done by Vouchercloud:

  • 91% of coupon redeemers say they’ll revisit eCommerce websites that offer discounts
  • 57% of customers report they’d abandon their shopping cart without a coupon

To reward first-time customers, Jane’s boutique offers a 20% off coupon they can use for their next purchase.  If the customer decides to buy from them again, they’ll receive a higher offer — up to 30% off on their next product.

Check out this other example from Catherines. In the coupon below, the customer has two options they can choose from.

On top of creating repeat customers, other studies show that oxytocin (aka the ‘love hormone’) spikes up to 38% when users receive a coupon. Getting a discount feels even more enjoyable than receiving a gift!

4. Send Abandoned Cart Emails

There’s nothing more frustrating than a potential customer that ditches their cart and doesn’t buy your product. Thankfully, there’s a tactic you can use to overcome this — follow-up with an abandoned cart email.

If you’re not following-up with users who leave their carts without making a purchase, you’re missing out. Here are stats from Moosend that make a case for abandoned cart emails:

  • Abandoned cart emails have a 45% average open rate
  • 21% of users will click the email
  • 11% of users who receive the email will end up buying the product

To fish users back in, send them an email reminding them about the product or give them a possible discount. Here’s a good example from LogoSportsWear:

Don’t be afraid to add humor in your email too, like in this example from Dote.

Also, you need to make sure you send the right amounts of emails overall.

5. Apply a Lenient Return Policy

Online buyers want peace of mind. If the product doesn’t fit them, they want to be able to return the item and get their money back quickly.

One small change that could boost sales and reduce buyer’s remorse is to extend your deadline for returns. A lenient policy gains the consumer’s trust since they have plenty of time to test the item and see if it fits them.

For example, Zappos is an online shoe retailer known for its generous returns policy. The company offers a 100% refund for products bought within 365 days of purchase.

Some brands are afraid that being too lenient will lead to more returns. But it’s the opposite — by tapping into the endowment effect, a liberal returns policy makes clients more likely to keep the purchased item.

Let’s go into detail to understand why:

What Is the Endowment Effect?

The endowment effect is an emotional bias that makes us place a higher value on an object once we own it.

For example, if you’re trying to sell the car you’ve used these past three years, your asking price will be likely higher than what the dealership is willing to pay.

The reason why is because unlike the seller, the car has sentimental value to you. You’ve used it to go on family trips, take your kids to school, etc.

So who does this relate to applying a lenient return policy? 

The more time a customer spends with your product, the less likely they’ll return it because of the endowment effect. If your customer has a full year to return their item, they might just decide to keep the product after a couple of months or even forget to return it!

6. Show Examples of Happy Customers

Using social proof is one of the most effective marketing tactics in eCommerce. Online buyers are more likely to buy from your store if other users have had a positive experience as well.

Image: Victoria Quirk

To eliminate buyer’s remorse, show previous examples of clients who enjoyed your product. Doing so will pre-frame their perception of the product before they even receive it and make them feel more at ease.

To do this, you can use customer reviews and user-generated content (UGC).  Let’s dive into both options with relevant examples for each:

Customer Reviews

Customer reviews help remove doubts that buyers may have about your product, which reduces cart abandonment.

According to statistics:

On each product page, Glossier has a section where customers can rate the item and add comments. They also show data on the reviewer’s age, skin type, and skin shade to see which demographics apply to you.

User-Generated Content (UGC)

User-generated content refers to any content that doesn’t come directly from a brand but its customers. Examples include photos on social media, blogs, and forum posts. 

Using UGC on your website is an authentic way to improve the shopping experience and drive more sales. Here are a couple of stats to convince you:

Aarie has a hashtag on social media called #AarieReal to denounce how edited photos hurt women’s self-esteem. You can find their user-generated content on their Instagram and store homepage.

Buyer’s Remorse – Wrapping Things Up

Buyer’s remorse can happen to the best of us. At some point or another, there will always be that one buyer who’ll regret their choice and return your item.

With the right mindset and tactics, however, it’s still possible to minimize it and drive more sales.

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