Many times in our own personal life, we buy products which we later regret buying. It could be costly shoes, small items or anything which was an impulse buying or researched buying, but one we regret after buying. The unhappiness which comes after the purchase is known as Post Purchase Dissonance.
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What is Post Purchase Dissonance?
Post Purchase Dissonance is when the customer’s state of the mind and perception is quite uneasy after purchasing the product or service offering of the brand. This results in the customer either regretting the brand or in returning the product back from where he purchased.
There could be many reasons for Post purchase dissonance leaving the customer unsatisfied or uneasy about the purchase.
- He thinks that he has overpaid for the product that he has purchased.
- He has realized that the competitor’s product is far better in terms of price, features, and attributes as compared to the brand’s product.
- There is a disparity between his prior evaluation of the product and his final purchase. So he doesn’t want the product anymore.
- Maybe it was an Impulse purchase and the customer regrets the impulse.
One of the major reasons behind this regret after the purchase is the evolving tastes and preferences of the customer and the growing competition in the market.
The factor of Post Purchase Dissonance can be applicable to any product or service available in the market
There is a certain threshold for the customer to reach the level of Post Purchase Dissonance. In general, we can divide into three levels.
- Tolerance level – Where the customer is Fine with the product he has brought and goes ahead with the purchase.
- Inconsistency level – Here the customer is undecided whether he really likes the product and whether the purchase was really upto mark.
- Post Purchase Dissonance – The final stage where the customer begins regretting the purchase.
Examples of Post Purchase Dissonance
If the customer has purchased a car with full payment done and now after a few weeks he is not happy with the colour of the car. He cannot go to the car showroom and get the car exchanged and neither can he go through a costly procedure of changing the colour of the car. So he regrets the colour of the car he purchased even if he is happy with the car itself.
It is also not possible many times to get the money back in the case of Post Purchase Dissonance.
The aspect of Post Purchase Dissonance his highly applicable to high worth products such as automobiles, mobile phones, designer clothes and apparels, electronic devices, and others.
What Causes Post Purchase Dissonance?
1) External pressure
One of the major reasons behind the aspect of Post Purchase Dissonance is the external pressure on the customer whilst indulging in the purchase of the specific product or the service. For example, whilst buying a car, the father has to listen to the needs and demands of his wife and kids who want a buy an SUV but the father prefers to buy a sedan owing to the budget constraints and the future maintenance of the car.
In such a case, either the father has to the give in to the demands of his family or the family has to give in to the pressure of the main man of the family. Either the situation, the aspect of Post Purchase Dissonance will definitely arise.
2) Wide variety of options
Another reason for the aspect of Post Purchase Dissonance is when the customer is presented with an array of options and alternatives to pick and choose from. Most of the times, rather the being happy seeing too many options on his platter, he tends to get confused on which one to select. Let’s take an example of a person buying a smartphone and he has no specific brand in his mind.
Whilst at the shop, he will surely get confused between the various brands and their specific features and attributes. Almost all smartphones have a similar level of features and user interfaces except the bigger brands. But the customer tends to get confused with the modalities of price, color, features, and brand selection.
After the final purchase, his mind will fickle for not selecting the contemporary brand over the one purchased.
3) Lack of research and knowledge:
Most of the times, the customers indulge in the impulsive buying especially of the high worth times and after the purchase, there is a feeling and perception of Post Purchase Dissonance in their minds. And one of the major reasons behind the same is that there is a lack of research and knowledge before indulging in the final purchase.
The customer needs to ask himself the questions such as:
- Do I really need this product?
- Do I have the budget to buy such a high-value product?
- What is the utility of the product?
- Is the product having the required features and attributes that will solve my pain areas?
- Is the brand reputed?
4) Quality of the product:
Yet another reason for the Post Purchase Dissonance is the quality of the product. And in this case, the major fault lies in the brand and its offerings. During the purchase, the sales representatives of the brand make tall claims and promises about the quality of the product and its unique attributes.
Many a time, the customer gets lured and the Post Purchase Dissonance strikes right after the usage of the product when the customer realizes that the product fails on the parameters of quality that was promised by the brand.
5) Unique characteristics of the product:
It does occur quite a number of times when the customer indulges in the purchase of the product owing to its unique and exclusive characteristics without realizing the fact the factors of the utility and usage of that uniqueness.
For instance, a teenager has a new interest in the field of photography and to harp and leverage on his newfound interest, he buys a high-end DSLR camera rather than buying a camera that works as a best one for the starters.
And post his purchase, he does realize that the camera has so many unique options that he is unable to use owing to the lack of knowledge.
How to reduce Post Purchase Dissonance?
The feeling of Post Purchase Dissonance in the minds of the customers affects the credibility and brand value of the firm in the market. Plus if the loyal set of customers feels the same, they tend to prefer the product offerings of the competitors. Hence, it is very imperative for the firm to lay impetus and astute importance to the aspects of the quality of the product along with the customer service levels.
Majority of times, it is the poor quality of the products that give rise to the feeling and perspective of Post Purchase Dissonance in the minds of the customers. Right from the long-lasting durability, attributes, features, and uniqueness of the product; the firm has to pay attention to the each and every facet keeping the customers at the focal point.
The feeling of Post Purchase Dissonance can also be avoided if the customer conducts thorough market research and study of the product that he intends to buy. Activities such as competitive analysis, pricing analysis, online reviews, and study of the brand need to be carried out by the customer before indulging in the final purchase of the product. Taking care of the above factors and having a crystal clear mind and perspective helps to avoid the feeling of Post Purchase Dissonance.
Next in the line to avoid the Post Purchase Dissonance is to not to come under the peer group pressure or buying the product just for the social standing. It happens most of the times with the teenagers or young adults as they buy the specific product as their friends own the same or they want to match the standing and lifestyle of their friends. Such purchase indulgences of the kids make the parents unhappy resulting in the Post Purchase Dissonance.
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