Women reading up on purchases

As a brand delivering parcels to customers, you know how important it is to keep your shoppers satisfied with their delivery experience. But have you heard of post-purchase dissonance?

Understanding what causes post-purchase dissonance, as well as steps you can take to reduce or prevent it from occurring, will help ensure repeat purchases and customer retention. In this blog post, we’ll explore what post-purchase dissonance is and why it matters, before diving into what strategies ecommerce stores like yours can use to keep customers happy and shopping.

What is post-purchase dissonance ?

Post-purchase or cognitive dissonance is a process where a consumer evaluates their decision to purchase an item, often experiencing feelings of uncertainty or regret. This can be caused by many factors such as high cost, a time limit on buying a product, false advertising, or even guilt over desirable but excessive features. After buying, the consumer may come across more information that seems to prove their initial decision to buy was wrong.

Post-purchase dissonance is a natural phenomenon and, while uncomfortable at times, it can be beneficial in offering consumers insights into their needs and wants which, in turn, may lead them to make more informed decisions.

How to avoid post-purchase dissonance

Post-purchase dissonance is an emotional state of uncertainty or regret after a purchase. Fortunately, there are ways to help customers avoid this feeling. Educating the customer on the product with detailed yet easy-to-understand descriptions and reviews can help reassure their purchase and reduce buyer’s remorse.

Being up front about the process and timescale for delivery is key too. Displaying shipping options, return policies and warranties before the buy button are also great ways of reducing post-purchase dissonance. This gives customers transparency and assurance as early as possible in the journey. If nothing else, it shows that the customer has a range of options if they change their mind about their decision.

Reducing transaction friction by keeping checkouts simple can also help customers feel confident in the credibility of the retailer, which is then likely to impact trust at all stages of their journey; from selecting and to buying, to using or wearing the products . Luckily, there are effective steps to take to assist customers in avoiding post-purchase dissonance so that they can feel happy with their choices. Take a look below.

1. Carry out quality control

Quality control is a crucial step in preventing post-purchase dissonance. This can be done by setting up a consistent and reliable process for monitoring the quality of products . Setting clear standards can help remove discrepancies between what was expected, and what arrived, to avoid potential customer dissatisfaction.

Creating an efficient process, from inspecting and packaging to shipping and delivery, can make sure that every item leaving the warehouse meets quality standards. Regular inspections or tests should also be carried out at all stages to address any issues before products reach the end consumer. By carrying out careful quality control, brands can prevent post-purchase dissonance and build a loyal customer base.

2. Provide detailed product information

Helping customers understand the value of their purchase can be an effective strategy for avoiding post-purchase dissonance. By providing more thorough explanations, descriptions, and product imagery, retailers show potential buyers what they are getting for their money.

Doing this well involves understanding the target audience and communicating clearly in a on-brand tone of voice. It means being informative without overwhelming customers with too much detail. Providing detailed product info can go a long way towards customers having the confidence that they’ve made the best decision when purchasing a product.

3. Set realistic delivery expectations

When it comes to your ecommerce business, setting realistic delivery expectations right from the start of the customer journey is key to avoiding post-purchase dissonance. After choosing to spend their hard-earned money with you, customers look forward to the parcel arriving on their doorstep.

To ensure that these expectations can be met, it’s important to list delivery options throughout the buying journey, not just at the checkout. When selecting carrier and delivery options that you’d like to offer, factor in variables such as the type of product purchased (e.g. food item versus fashion item), carrier performance and any potential disruptions (such as inclement weather or strike action).

This can provide an estimation of delivery timeframes that are achievable within an acceptable margin of error. Now, there’s shipping software available to help easily manage your delivery operations and ensure delivery timescale estimates are always accurate.

4. Communicate at every stage of the delivery process

When the parcel has left your warehouse and is in the hands of the carrier, your job is done, right? Wrong.

Making sure your customers stay happy throughout the delivery journey is essential, and customers expect retailers to own this. One way to avoid post-purchase dissonance is to ensure that clear communication is maintained throughout the delivery experience. This involves communicating with customers in a timely, branded way about when to expect their product, even if there are unexpected delays.

Additionally, reaching out with emails or SMS messages keeps your customers informed with real-time updates which helps build trust within the customer experience. Offering a simple user experience is a great way to ensure that customers are fully satisfied with their purchase.

5. Efficient customer service

Customer service enquiries are an unavoidable fact of life for retailers. Customer service, when helpful and speedy, provides an invaluable resource for customers when things don’t go as expected. WISMO queries are very common and can often be very time consuming and costly to a retailer. Using delivery tracking software that can provide real-time updates on all orders in one dashboard helps customer service agents to deal with queries quickly and efficiently, providing excellent customer service and a positive delivery experience.

6. Offer flexible self-service returns

It can be frustrating for a customer to regret a purchase. However, giving customers an easy way to return products they are unsatisfied with not only saves them money and hassle but also builds brand trust.

Using efficient software for returns has many benefits that could help make all the difference when it comes to making sure purchases are satisfactory. By implementing flexible self-service returns, your customers may feel more comfortable with their final purchase, and you’ll be able to rest assured knowing they won’t come away disappointed either. Better still, giving customers a way to return items without contacting you directly, reduces pressure and resource demands on your customer service team.

7. Provide multiple refund options

Refunds give buyers confidence that they’re not stuck with unsatisfactory purchases. Providing customers with multiple refund options is an effective way to help them avoid post-purchase dissonance. This gives buyers more control over the transaction, taking away the one-size-fits-all approach that often causes buyer remorse.

Customising individual refunds helps people have a say in the transaction and be more satisfied with the results, making sure your customer base remains happy after their purchase. Taking these small steps can make all the difference, giving shoppers a wider range of options when it comes time to return a product or service.

8. Encourage reviews and feedback

Ensuring customer satisfaction is crucial to the success of any business and one way of doing this is by encouraging reviews and feedback. Not only that, but social proofing is consistently rated the top converting factor for consumers shopping online.

By obtaining feedback from customers through review requests, companies can reflect on the post-purchase experience to design better experiences in the future.

This shows that you value the opinion of your customers and gives an opportunity to gain insight into your services, products or processes. Ultimately, helpful reviews and honest feedback can reduce post-purchase dissonance for both customers and brands alike.

If you can avoid post-purchase dissonance, you will make your customers happier and more likely to purchase from you again in the future. Sorted’s Track software helps businesses to communicate with customers every step of the way. See how Sorted’s Track software can help you alleviate post-purchase dissonance by booking a demo.