Buyer’s Guilt and How You Can Alleviate It

By: Ryan Velez| Writer,
Posted On: February 05, 2018

Everyone deserves a little splurge now and again. There’s nothing wrong with it, but after you make your purchase, there may be a little twinge in the back of your head saying that this wasn’t a good idea. Congratulations, you’ve just had a taste of buyer’s remorse. Let’s talk about how to alleviate buyer’s remorse through product copy.

What may be a minor issue as a consumer can be a major issue as a service or product provider.  If customers can’t justify using your products, they won’t use them. Here’s how you make sure that never happens to your business.

What Is Buyer’s Guilt?

In essence, buyer’s guilt is the feeling a person has when they feel that they spent money on something they shouldn’t have, or that they spent too much for something. This is something that isn’t as innocent as it sounds.

Customers have more individual weight in their opinions than ever. In the past, if they felt that their purchase was a poor decision, they simply decided not to use those services any more. Now, if they’re not happy, there are a wealth of platforms just waiting for their reviews. These include specific review platforms like Yelp as well as their own personal social media. God forbid these things go viral, or you have a potential disaster on your hands.

The first way to fight this issue is to have a functional, effective product. For the sake of this conversation, we’re going to say that you already do. The second way to fight this issue is by convincing your customer before and during the purchasing process that they are making a good investment. Don’t think this is important? Think of the Super Bowl, fresh in many people’s minds. The biggest companies out there pay millions to get the message out there that their product has some sort of appealing quality. This is to get them to buy, but also to get them to not feel buyer’s guilt afterwards. Chances are you don’t have Super Bowl commercial money, but there are other ways you can do this.

Directly Addressing Buyer’s Guilt

Depending on your customer base, you’re going to have different ways to interact with them during the purchasing process. Each of these provide opportunities to try and handle buyer’s guilt. Depending on some businesses, you can do this face to face. This includes:

  • Businesses where you negotiate and discuss with a salesperson for your product, like for furniture or cars.
  • Services where there is a level of discussion before services are provided, like home improvement or a web design project.
  • Any sort of business-to-business transaction.

If this meets your business, take a moment to think about what customers ask when they talk to you or your employees. Generally, it boils down to making sure that they end with a deal they are happy with—basically avoiding buyer’s guilt. You can fight buyer’s guilt by reassuring them that your product will help solve whatever problem they have.

As an expert in fundraising in the academic field, Rita Walters takes many of the same principles that go into selling a product or service, but applies it to education. In some ways, this is even more difficult, as a donation to an institution doesn’t necessarily have the obvious initial benefit that say, paying to have your windows cleaned done, does.

Here’s her perspective on addressing those who can be noncommittal to try and avoid buyer’s (or donor’s guilt) in her field:

“There are many times when we meet those with capacity and inclination, but their decision-making process may not be as rapid and decisive as we would like. These are the times when it’s important to remember that our work is not transactional, we are building lasting relationships and it is imperative that we adjust to meet the customer/prospect where they are and pace ourselves accordingly.”

Sound familiar? If you offer a service, how many time has someone tried to haggle you down? All if this is about people trying to avoid that buyer’s guilt. For Walters, she takes the approach of building long-term relationships and waiting until the time is right to ultimately get the desired result.

But what about when there isn’t that direct interaction? What happens when your customer clicks a button or calls in an order, and that’s all you get to convince them? When this happens, you need to make preemptive moves.

how to alleviate buyer's remorse through product copy
Taking Down Buyer’s Guilt—Before It Starts

At this point, the conversation comes back to product descriptions. A product description details the features and uses of your product or service, but you also have to cram in all that reassurance into a small set of words. Easier said than done. A customer can tell you their exact concerns in a face-to-face scenario. So, when you put together your product descriptions, here are some things you can focus on to assuage buyer’s guilt:

Practicality: One of the biggest sources of buyer’s guilt is the feeling that you could get away without having brought something. This means finding ways to demonstrate added value and longevity for your product through your words.

Luxury: On the other end, if you are offering a more frivolous product, try to emphasize quality and fun.

Transparency: Customers are savvy these days. They are putting more value in ethical business, quality materials, and similar facets. If your product fits the bill, flaunt it.

Confidence: If you won’t stand behind your product, people will get suspicious. If they don’t know a lot about your business, offering some sort of guarantee or return policy may be a deal-maker. This way, buyer’s guilt is minimized to an expenditure of time rather than money.

This may seem like a lot to take in, and you would be right. On average, a product description is only 200-400 words long, and rarely goes over 600 words. If you aren’t a skilled writer, you may not be able to fit all of these things into an appropriate length. This is where a professional can come in handy. By hiring an expert product description writing service, you can take the pertinent points and have them create a knock-out description. This little detail is your pre-emptive strike against buyer’s guilt—and this is a battle you wage with every purchase.