The Impact of Impulsivity on eCommerce Returns
March 20, 2023
by Rebecca Fox

Online shopping has made it easier than ever for customers to purchase products with just a few clicks. However, this ease of access has also led to increased levels of impulsivity, which can result in higher return rates.

It’s important to understand the impact of impulsivity on eCommerce returns and take steps to mitigate its effects.

What is the Impact of Impulsivity on eCommerce Returns?

Impulsive buying behavior can lead to more product returns because when customers make purchases without fully considering their options, they often end up with products that don’t meet their needs or expectations.

Some of the ways customer impulsivity increases return rates:

Not Considering the Return Policy

Impulsive buyers are more likely to make purchases without carefully considering the return policy, which can lead to confusion or frustration if the return policy is not clearly communicated or doesn’t align with the customer’s expectations.

Experiencing Buyer’s Remorse

Impulsive purchases are more likely to result in buyer’s remorse, which is the feeling of regret or anxiety after making a purchase. When customers experience buyer’s remorse, they are more likely to return the product, even if there’s nothing wrong with it. 

Not Planning Ahead

Impulsive purchases are often made without a plan or consideration for future needs or preferences. Ultimately, this can result in customer returns when they realize the product doesn’t fit their overall plans.

Engaging in Bracketing Fraud

Impulsive buyers are more likely to engage in bracketing return fraud, which is the act of buying multiple versions of the same item in different sizes, colors, or styles with the intention of returning those that don’t fit or don’t meet their needs.

Impulse Purchases Lead to High Return Rates

Impulse purchases lead to high return rates as customers are more likely to return items they bought impulsively.

A high return rate can have several negative impacts, including:

  • Reduced Profit Margins – Every time an item is returned, your store loses revenue. High return rates can significantly impact your profit margins.
  • Decreased Customer Satisfaction – High return rates may be indicative of customer dissatisfaction, resulting in negative reviews and reduced customer loyalty.
  • Increased Workload – Processing returns can be time-consuming and require additional resources. High return rates can increase your team’s workload, resulting in decreased efficiency and higher costs.

By understanding the impact of impulsivity on eCommerce returns and taking steps to mitigate its effects, you can improve your bottom line and provide a better customer experience.

Tips to Mitigate the Impact of Impulsivity on Returns

Here are a few practical steps you take to reduce the likelihood of impulsive purchases and subsequent returns:

Provide Clear Product Descriptions and Images

Providing detailed and accurate product descriptions and images can help customers make more informed purchasing decisions, reducing the likelihood of them making impulsive purchases that may not meet their needs or expectations. 

By using high-quality images and descriptive text, you can provide a more accurate representation of the product, which can reduce the chance of eCommerce returns and exchanges.

Display Reviews from Previous Customers

Customer reviews and ratings can provide valuable feedback and social proof for potential customers who are considering buying a certain product.

97% of customers typically read product reviews and look at ratings before making a purchase. Reviews can help build trust with potential customers and provide them with a more accurate representation of the product. 

By highlighting customer reviews, you can provide a more balanced perspective on products, which can help reduce the likelihood of impulsive purchases.

Communicate Your Return Policy Clearly

Reduce confusion and manage customer expectations by clearly communicating your return policy.

Customers want to know what to expect if they need to return a product, including any deadlines, requirements, and potential fees. Make sure your return policy includes everything customers need to know about the returns process.

By clearly communicating your return policy on your website, product pages, and post-purchase emails, customers can make more informed decisions about their purchases, reducing the likelihood of returns and exchanges.

Offer Personalized Product Recommendations

Personalized product recommendations can help customers find products that meet their specific needs and preferences, reducing the likelihood of them making impulsive purchases that may not be a good fit.

By using customer data to personalize messaging and promotions, you can create a sense of exclusivity and relevance that can help reduce impulsive purchases. 

80% of customers are more likely to make a purchase if they receive a personalized experience, and that purchase is more likely to meet their expectations.

Address Impulse Purchases to Reduce Return Rates

The impact of impulsivity on eCommerce returns is something many people fail to consider, and it should be taken seriously. 

By taking steps to mitigate the effects of impulsive buying behavior, you can help customers make more informed decisions and reduce the likelihood of impulsivity-related returns.

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