Consumer Psychology: Copywriting Hacks To Reduce Buyer’s Remorse

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Ever made a successful sale only to have the customer change their mind and request a refund? Buyer’s remorse is extremely common amongst consumers, and if it’s not handled correctly, it can lead to an increase in refund requests and negatively impact your online reputation.

Fortunately, we’ve got some handy copywriting hacks to reduce buyer’s remorse and encourage customers to think positively about their purchases with you. Let’s go!


Table of contents


What is buyer’s remorse?

Buyer’s remorse refers to a range of negative feelings a customer might experience after making a purchase. This can include anxiety, regret, disappointment and guilt. Though you’d expect this remorse to occur primarily with large and expensive assets, like cars and houses, it is common for people to experience it with small, seemingly insignificant purchases like a cup of coffee.

This phenomenon will usually start with thoughts like:

  • “Did I really need to buy this?”
  • “Could I have bought it at a lower price elsewhere?”
  • “Should I have waited for a sale?”
  • “What if there’s a superior alternative?”

Everyone experiences buyer’s remorse at some point in their life. However, when you’re a business, you want to reduce the chances of this happening. To figure out how to do this, we must first understand why it occurs.


Why does it happen?

Cognitive dissonance

Buyer’s remorse is generally linked to cognitive dissonance, a state of psychological discomfort which occurs when a person makes a purchase but feels dissatisfied because:

  • The product/service doesn’t meet their expectations
  • The marketing copy was misleading
  • They’ve realised that there’s a better offer elsewhere
  • They don’t think they actually need it anymore

Example

Let’s say you’re in the market for a new face moisturiser. You find one online that meets all your needs—it’s light, fragrance-free and extremely hydrating. Sure, it’s a bit pricey, but you’re willing to splurge. Unfortunately, when it arrives, you realise it’s scented and not as lightweight as the marketing copy implied.

The low reward (a moisturiser that is unusable), matched with the high effort involved in the buying process (a hefty price tag) and a lack of information (the copy not reflecting the product’s specifications), leads to immense stress and guilt.

There are three critical ways to decrease our discomfort when cognitive dissonance occurs. We can:

  • Find ways to justify our purchase
  • Avoid dwelling on the product/service’s shortcomings
  • Get a refund (and probably avoid purchasing with the business ever again)

Though it’s normal for some of your customers to experience buyer’s remorse, you want to keep it to a minimum. High numbers of dissatisfied customers can ruin your reputation, steer more people towards your competitors and cause your profits to plummet.


How to reduce buyer’s remorse with careful copywriting

Woman in a long sleeved blue shirt typing on a MacBook ProImage source: Luke Southern (via Unsplash)

👉 Understand your customer

First and foremost, you need to understand who your customers are and what they want. If you’re basing your copy and products on vague guesses and assumptions, it’s no wonder your customers are experiencing buyer’s remorse.

Lucky for you, we’ve got plenty of handy articles to help you get to know your target audience a bit better so that you can find ways to give them what they want:

You can go a step further and send out questionnaires to existing and past customers to gain further insight into how you can improve your service. You can ask questions like:

  • What made you choose our product/service?
  • Did you consider other businesses before making your purchase with us?
  • What features do you value the most?
  • What features does our product/service lack?
  • Did you have any doubts during the purchasing process? If so, what were they?

Once you can pinpoint what your customers value or want to avoid, you can ensure that it’s emphasised in your copy. If your customers feel like their requirements are being met, they’re likely to be satisfied with their purchase and become repeat customers.

👉 Emphasise the benefits

One of the reasons why your customers might experience buyer’s remorse is because they don’t feel like they’re getting enough bang for their buck. To counter this belief, you need to reinforce the benefits of your product/service throughout your copy.

If you can get your customers thinking about these benefits before making their purchase, they’re likely to use them to justify their decision post-purchase. For most businesses, these benefits will include:

  • Price matching
  • Free or fast shipping
  • Money-back guarantee
  • Discounts
  • 24/7 customer service

Whilst they are effective and persuasive for some customers, they’re also fairly common. If you want to truly wow your customers and stop buyer’s remorse in its tracks, you need to use one of our foolproof copywriting tactics: highlight your unique selling propositions (USPs).

Make a list of all the features and benefits that make you stand out from your competitors. You can then scatter these USPs through your copy to reel in your customers and make them believe that purchasing is the right decision.

👉 Manage expectations

Though making an impression with your customers through persuasive and eye-catching copy is essential, it’s equally vital that you keep yourself from getting too carried away. Too many businesses find themselves overpromising and under-delivering, leading to unhappy customers, an increase in refunds and a shoddy online reputation.

Look over your web copy and ask yourself whether you’ve made a necessary flourish or lied through your teeth. If it’s the latter, find a way to rectify it. There are plenty of ways to entice people without blatantly lying to them. If you’re struggling, try out some of our top copywriting formulas from the slideshow below!

Being realistic with what you’re promising your customers doesn’t just cover your back and reduce buyer’s remorse, it also gives you a chance to win brownie points if you exceed their expectations. You might, for example:

  • Include freebies and samples
  • Deliver the product/service sooner than expected
  • Offer exclusive discounts or loyalty schemes

You will need to weigh up how cost-effective these types of schemes are, however. If it positively affects your reviews or retention rate, keep doing it! If it’s the opposite, however, shelve it until your next strategy overhaul.

👉 Keep your customers informed

If you’re offering a product/service that is rather complex with a steep learning curve, it’s no surprise that certain customers might end up regretting their purchase. Not knowing how to use a product or finding it too challenging isn’t going to make you happy with your purchase, is it?

The trick is to make things as straightforward for your customers as possible. You can do this by creating a range of content types, like eBooks and whitepapers, focused on the ins and outs of using your product/service. You can link to these resources in the post-purchase email you send to your customers.

If you want to go the extra mile, consider reaching out to past customers to ask them to provide tips or advice they’d like to share with newbies. The benefits to this are twofold: your new customers gain knowledge from other consumers (who they’re more likely to trust), and they’re given even more reason to make a sale (because they want to feel included).

👉 Try before you buy

People are far less likely to regret a purchase if they’ve already been given a taste of what to expect through free trials and samples. And, as we’ve explored in our deep dive into cognitive biases, “try before you buy” is a great form of risk compensation, making purchasing a product seem far less risky. You can highlight this benefit using clear CTAs on your product/service pages and emailing customers who have abandoned their cart.

If your business offers a money-back guarantee, you should highlight this in your copy—on your product pages, FAQs, and post-purchase emails. This stops customers from feeling instant stress if they’re experiencing cognitive dissonance, as they know they have plenty of time to return it if they realise it isn’t for them.

👉 Send the right emails, at the right time

Not putting in the effort with your email marketing copy? Rookie move! With the right words and good timing, you could stop buyer’s remorse in its tracks and ensure your customers become repeat and loyal buyers.

Nudge them to make a purchase

Some people will feel buyer’s remorse immediately after putting something in their basket. They’ll spend days dithering and wondering whether it’s the right move, only to abandon their cart altogether.

What you can do here is send them an email that outlines the benefits of your product/service. Give them solid evidence of how your product/service can positively impact their lives and it might push them across the finish line.

If you have them, attach some testimonials and five-star reviews too. User-generated content is a brilliant way to build trust with your customers and make them feel like they don’t want to miss out.

Maximise their purchase

Send your recent customers an email with tips on how to get the most out of their recent purchase just before their product arrives (be sure to attach any resources you’ve made!). By reinforcing the benefits and emphasising why it will make such a difference to them, you can stop the remorse before it even sets in!

You might also consider adding clear contact information so customers can easily reach out if they encounter any issues. This will allow you to nip problems in the bud as soon as they arise and keep your customers happy.

Justify their purchase

Another post-purchase email you can send is one with some positive affirmations. Instead of thanking the customer, congratulate them for making the right choice or tell them that something brilliant (the product/service) is on its way to them. This language subtly tells the customer they’ve made the right decision.

To give customers further reason to justify their purchase, include a discount code in the email. This makes them feel like they’re getting more value for their money and incentivises them to become loyal, repeat customers.

Conclude their purchase

Lastly, you want to ask your customers to leave a review. Building up social proof like online reviews is a great way to improve your reputation, create brand awareness and increase conversions. But that’s not all!

Leaving a review also signals to the customer that their buying journey is coming to an end. Once they’ve posted it, they’re confirming to themselves and the business that they’re happy with their purchase.

To get the best results, you’ll want to send this email soon after the customer has received their product. At this time, they’re most likely to be on a purchasing ‘high’ and should therefore have a particularly positive opinion of your product.


For more handy insights and advice, head on over to the Supersede blog and keep your eyes peeled for the next edition in our consumer psychology series!

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