How To Minimize Returns for Your E-commerce Business

Photo by sarah b on Unsplash

Product returns are one of the biggest hassles for any retail business, particularly online ones. If your company is struggling with high return rates, implementing an array of different strategies can help to alleviate the issue.

The first thing to minimize returns is to ensure the product arrives undamaged at the client using high-quality strapping and packaging. In this piece, we’ll discuss a few practical ways businesses can reduce their returns. 

Biggest Factors that Influence Customer Returns

There are three main reasons a customer is likely to return products they have purchased. Firstly, the incorrect item or size was purchased. Secondly, the item failed to meet expectations or the description that was provided online. And thirdly, the item was damaged or broken upon arrival. 

If you are unsure what your most significant influencing factor may be, conducting a simple survey asking your customers why they are returning items will offer valuable insight into the areas that are failing to meet customer satisfaction. Optimization should not be a guessing game, and highlighting problem areas is the first step in rectifying the issue. 

How to Minimize Returns

If your company is struggling with a high rate of returns, implementing a combination of tactics can assist in mitigating the issue and improving your sales. 

Detailed Product Descriptions

One of the biggest reasons a customer returns a product is that it needs to meet the expectations reflected online. For many, it is frustrating and disappointing to receive a product that is not wanted or needed. To reduce this disappointment and avoid unnecessary returns, focus on providing highly detailed product descriptions on your company website.

A descriptive headline will attract a customer’s eye. A small but accurate paragraph can be used to expand on the specific details of the product, including specifications and features, which will all contribute to a more realistic expectation being set at checkout. 

Send Post-Purchase Emails

Sending post-purchase emails to your customers can be a highly effective tool in reducing returns. You can use this opportunity to provide more details about the product, which can often reduce objections that could lead to returns and keep consumers excited about their incoming purchases. 

This simple trick will help you engage with your customer base and reduce the chance of them developing post-purchase regret or concern.  

Utilise Customer Reviews

One of the best ways to understand what consumers want from you as a company is by utilizing customer reviews. If you allow customers to leave detailed product reviews, you can better understand where you excel and what needs improvement, offering insights you may not have previously known. 

Nike takes reviews further by allowing customers to evaluate their purchases based on three main criteria: size, comfort, and durability. This information can then be used by the company to make necessary changes and by future customers who hope to avoid ordering the incorrect size.

Customer Reviews
Photo by Maarten van den Heuvel on Unsplash

Improved Product Imagery

Studies have shown that nearly 22% of returns occur when products look different in person from how they are portrayed online. This is often the result of poor quality and a low variety of product photos supplied on websites. 

Supplying a range of images that showcase the product from various angles and illustrate any unique features or components will not only improve sales but will reduce the chance of consumers being unhappy with products that are different from what they expected. Show customers how your product can fit into their everyday lives instead of forcing them to guess how to use it effectively.

Provide Accurate Sizing Charts

On average, 40% of all online clothing purchases are returned to apparel brands due to incorrect sizing and ill-fitting garments. This is simply because many online apparel companies need to provide accurate, detailed, and easy-to-understand sizing charts for customers to use while making purchases.

If your company caters to customers from around the world, it is crucial to include sizing information relevant to the various ways clothes are sized across markets. If customers can accurately decide on the correct size, they will likely purchase from you.

ASOS, an international online clothing company, has found a clever and effective way to mitigate this issue by providing a short survey that utilizes aggregate data from past purchases to better measure accurate clothing size based on height, weight, body type, and personal fit preferences. This gives customers more control when selecting clothing sizes, thus reducing returns. 

Product Imagery
Photo by Igor Miske on Unsplash

Increase Quality-Control Measures

While it may seem somewhat logical to expect damaged or broken items to result in increased returns, the reality is that poor quality control leads to long-lasting and potentially permanent damage to the reputation of your business. 

By implementing strict and frequent quality control measures, you can ensure that all products are properly inspected once they arrive at your warehouse. Furthermore, to reduce the chance of damage during the delivery process, securely packaging products, especially fragile items, should be a top priority.

Promote Exchanges Over Returns

In a consumer study by Narvar, 57% of shoppers were willing to replace an item they had returned, with just 16% turning to a different retailer to find the same product. These statistics illustrate the importance of implementing a smooth and easy exchange process, allowing you to capture this revenue and keep customers returning. 

The content published on this website is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.

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