You’d likely have encountered this scenario as an online retailer (mostly several times) – a client buys an item from your shop, and you’re rejoicing that your promotional attempts have paid off and you’ve created a sale.
You will receive a call or an email from the client after a few days saying that he/she expects the item to be returned. Product yields are one of all e-commerce retailers ‘ biggest woes.
Returns are time-consuming, costly, and very irritating–to put it bluntly. Returns not only affect your bottom line but also harm your brand’s reputation, causing clients to lose their brand trust.
The average product return percentage in the retail business is only 8 percent, according to the Washington Post. For internet companies, however, the figures are considerably greater. The average return on e-commerce in 2018 was 20%, and during the holidays it jumped to 30% and stood at 50% for luxury goods.
As an e-commerce retailer, you need to work on reducing your return prices to maximize your earnings and boost the bottom line. And, true to the old saying, “Prevention is better than cure,” it is always more efficient to prevent returns from happening first than to handle them.
Here, in this guide, we’re walking you through some of the best practices that help reduce product returns for your business in e-commerce.
#1 Adopt a Flexible Return Policy :
What is a Flexible return policy? It empowers the potential customer to confidently buy a product from your brand knowing that if they don’t like it or it doesn’t seem good in individual, he/she can return it later. It is a policy of yields centered on the customer.
Most e-shops have a short return window – mostly within 2-5 days of item receipt. This makes the client anxious within the timeframe to return the item. Once the product is received, they don’t have any time to breathe as they have to begin the return procedure instantly.
It causes a phenomenon called the endowment effect when you provide clients with longer return timeframes. Simply put, the longer the item is held by the client, the more he/she will feel attached to it. In other words, it is less probable that he/she will return it.
Key takeaway :
Develop a return policy by evaluating current return data that works best for your company. However, make sure that clients who use the item during the liberal timeframe do not prey to you and then return it later. To prevent such circumstances, establish certain return provisions such as–item should be in excellent condition, tags should not be missing, etc.
#2 Segment your Customers :
Smart e-commerce retailers understand their clients. Make sure your existing customer database is analyzed to create customer personas. High-risk customers must be identified. You can tailor your marketing campaigns to suit different personas when you segment clients based on their return potential.
Let’s say – you’re supporting a campaign to sell pink shirts for breast cancer awareness. Since you offer the shirts at an offer price, however, you don’t want to send the offer to clients who are likely to return.
Key takeaway :
You can send tailored offers to distinct categories of clients by segmenting clients according to their return percentages, thereby lowering return prices.
#3 Always use high-quality product pics & Detailed Descriptions :
One of the most popular reasons that clients offer to return goods is that–it does not look like the picture of the item. Incorrect or poor pictures account for 23 percent of all product returns. Bridging the gap between the expectations of the consumer and the real product is a major challenge for distributors in e-commerce.
By offering comprehensive, high-quality pictures in your e-commerce website design, the simplest way to solve this challenge. Unlike brick and mortar shops where clients can touch and feel and even try products, internet buyers only have to do with photos and descriptions of products.
Key takeaway :
Include several product image styles – on a template, a mannequin, and the product alone (to enable clients to see what the product looks like on its own). Furthermore, using 360-degree product opinions is an excellent approach because it provides clients a full image of what they are purchasing.
#4 Include Detailed size guides :
This refers mainly to retailers of fashion. One of the biggest downsides of online fashion shopping is that before they buy it, customers can’t try a product.
By offering a try-and-buy choice to clients, some famous fashion distributors like Myntra have innovatively circumvented this. Customers can order a few products in different sizes, try them while they are waiting for the delivery person, keep what they want, and return the rest.
Key Takeaway :
If such a scheme is not feasible for you, other options such as comprehensive sizing guides and internet fitting tools need to be provided to clients. While sizing is a significant problem for fashion retailers, the use of virtual room planning tools and other sizing guides also benefits other distributors such as furniture vendors.
#5 Encourage product reviews on your Product Page :
Some customer reviews are beneficial doubly. Positive reviews are generating more revenues while adverse reviews are helping other clients learn more about the product. For example, customers may propose new ways to use the product or say something about the product you’ve forgotten in the description of the product.
This enables prospective clients to make the correct purchase choices, thus avoiding return opportunities.
As stated above, provide a small incentive and a reminder for clients to leave feedback on the item.
So there you have it! Flexible return policy, segmenting your products, excellent product pictures, sizing tools, customer reviews are the fundamental things you can do to make online shopping a better customer experience, resulting in fewer product returns for you. By choosing which of these tips you will introduce first, you can take action today and create a plan to make it occur.
Guest article written by: Jeevan Kumar is a technology enthusiast and strong believer in agile product development. He is a Senior Content Strategist of Fortunesoft IT Innovations – Magento Development Company.