Preventing Buyer’s Remorse with Supply Chain Technology

Editor’s Note: The following is an excerpt of a research report published recently, “Buyer’s Remorse Survey Report.” The research, conducted by Adelante SCM and commissioned by RouteSmart Technologies, is based on a survey conducted with members of our Indago supply chain research community (who are all supply chain and logistics executives from manufacturing, retail, and distribution companies) and executives from leading parcel/package delivery companies, national postal carriers, public works, and other companies with last-mile delivery operations. The research explores the factors contributing to buyer’s remorse when procuring technology solutions and actions companies can take to prevent it. Please visit the report page for more insights from the research and to download the full report.

“Buyer’s remorse” is defined as “a feeling of regret (a wish that you had not done something) after making a choice or decision.” 

It’s not uncommon to experience buyer’s remorse, especially when buying expensive items like a house or car. For example, as reported by CNBC in August 2022, “72% of recent homebuyers have regrets about their purchases.” Many of the homebuyers surveyed felt they spent too much money on the house and/or they felt they rushed the buying process.

Timeshares, gym equipment, extended warranties, a boat, exercise equipment — the list of things that people often regret buying is long.

Buyer’s remorse also occurs in the business realm, especially when it comes to procuring IT solutions. In a survey conducted by Gartner in late 2021, 56% of the organizations surveyed “said they had a high degree of purchase regret over their largest tech-related purchase in the last two years.”

Considering that many technology solutions require a significant amount of time, money, and resources to procure and implement, an investment that fails to meet expectations can have a damaging impact on business performance. Hershey’s failed ERP implementation in July 1999 is an infamous case. As highlighted in a case study published by Pemeco Consulting,  “Business process and systems issues caused operational paralysis [at Hershey’s], leading to a 19 percent drop in quarterly profits and an 8 percent decline in stock price.”

The stakes are also high for leaders in charge of procuring or implementing technology solutions. For example, in a March 2016 post in Proformative titled “Tech Implementation Failure Cost Me My Job,” a CFO (posting anonymously) shared some lessons learned from a failed ERP implementation. “In the end, the buck has to stop somewhere and I accept that,” the CFO concluded. “Of course, no one likes to lose [their] job.”

It’s not surprising, therefore, that the phrase “Nobody ever got fired for buying IBM” became a popular saying in IT circles. As software executive Brian Welsh writes in an April 2021 LinkedIn post, the saying “has become the ‘better the devil you know’ cop-out clause for risk-averse software buyers. Rather than choose the product of another tech company even though they know it offers a better solution, buyers are still going with [the incumbent megabrand] because they’ll be better shielded from any negative consequences.” 

The irony, of course, is that by embracing this philosophy and short-circuiting the technology evaluation and selection process, the risk for failure and buyer’s remorse actually increases, as we highlight later in this report.

For more insights from the research, including takeaways from the survey results about the factors that lead to buyer’s remorse and the actions companies can take to prevent it, please visit the report page and download the full report