eCommerce has left no reasons for experts to consider itself a strong retailing mode. As the convenience and efficiency have risen sky-high for the sellers and customers, the risk of product returns has also increased.
This can prove out to be the biggest headache that you can have being an online seller. So, in order to reduce or lessen the returns, you need to either streamline your retail flow or adopt some new tactics.
Managing the return rates digitally is essential, and has fortunately become easier, but tricky. Let's take a quick glance at the things that can be done, some hygienic ways to keep your product 'off the return zone'.
Why Customers Return Your Products?
#1 Probably they misjudged the size...
Sizing differs from brand to brand. There are chances that the product you shipped has a different sizing than what your customer usually wears.
A customer can usually misjudge the size either because of lack of sizing options available on the website or if the product is not properly designed. Till date, sellers are yet not able to identify the reason for the issues erupting when it comes to sizing. But again, to avoid it…
- include a size chart in your product listing
- make proper models to showcase your products (in every size if possible)
- highlight the material out of which the product is made (specify if it’s stretchable or not)
#2 Customer is unable to utilize the senses
At retail stores, you can pick up the product, see it, feel it, hear it, smell it, or even taste it. Out of all the mentioned senses, only the sense of vision works when it comes to online shopping.
Out of the 75% of products returned, 50% of products were not as per the provided information on the website. The customers either find flaws in the color, size, or quality, well an obvious problem as they haven’t actually felt the product before purchasing.
There are chances that this might seem to pertain, till the artificial intelligence takes over, unfortunately.
#3 The product image or description
If the shoppers are well-aware about the product in advance, there are chances that you might not face any cart abandonment. Such customers are also very much unlike to return the product after the purchase is made.
Now, even though your customers are well-aware, doesn't really mean that your product listing is not detailed. The product page should provide details about the product, including a good use of imagery, making sure that your customers are well aware of it and need more to understand it better.
#4 Customers intentionally order extra items to choose from...
Now, this is something that literally has no solution till date; something that is ought to pertain in the world of online retailing. Customers usually order more than one item, the main reason here is the unreliable information about the material, sizing, and appearance.
But naturally, as you are already accepting returns, and the customer is satisfied finally after the purchase, it's nowhere a loss for you.
Leave it to the customer on what they want to keep and what they wish to return, even return or not. Such returns won’t ever ruin your seller reputation on the marketplace; request your customers to provide a good, positive feedback.
#5 Customers hate late deliveries
This is so obvious. Customers don’t even wait for the product to arrive if it’s late, and simply cancel it. Keep in mind, customers always order anything for a purpose, let that be leisure, they demand it on said time.
This will simply pile up the returns on your head, and you might end up paying for the additional costs involved in the return process.
How can your order returns be optimized?
#1 Perfect your product listings
The most important part of your product listing is to throw a spotlight on the product either by photography or stock images. Then comes the description part. Every product demands a certain intensity in the description. If it is a gadget, might require some additional specifications, might include the hardware and software components, both.
If it’s something related to fashion, again the specification will come into the picture, along with instructions on how to wear or how to wash, etc. Customers do pay attention to all these minute details. Finally, as you know there are plenty of other sellers selling the same stuff as you, make sure that you have enough options to keep your customer intact.
This is the most initial part of the customer’s journey on your website, make it count!
#2 Optimize the shipping process
To optimize the entire shipping process, it all starts from packaging the product before it leaves your warehouse.
- The very first step is to verify the consignments - prevention is always better than cure, as per the research, ~25% of the products that are returned are not actually what customer ordered. If they do not receive what they ordered, a return is definite. So, before the package leaves the warehouse, make sure that it is triple checked.
- Secondly, the product should always leave from the origin on committed time - the moment you ship the product, do not forget to share the tracking details with the customer. If by any chance the shipment is delayed, the customer should be able to check it all on the tracking section.
- Finally, when the product is shipped, send a thanking email - this can be a very gradual but efficient approach towards customer satisfaction. Gaining trust and marking a place in customer’s heart is the key to your business’s effective growth.
#3 Provide an immensely strong customer support
Customers always wish to not wait in the queue and grab a direct connection with either the customer support team of the marketplace or the online retailers. Try to keep a separate support for product return, inquiry and sales, just to make sure that there are no glitches and the customer doesn't need to hold on for long.
There certainly are questions which are not answerable either by product descriptions or by FAQs. Your customers must be attended by knowledgeable support team members, who are very much capable of answering the queries.
If not done, this can result in achieving a negative review on your seller ratings.
#4 Get the seller reviews up to the mark
Seller reviews, if bad, would make your customer refrain from purchasing your product, forget product returns. This is a serious thing and should be constantly taken care of.
Not only on the marketplace or your own online storefront can a customer post a review, but also on the social media page, if you do have one. Identify the problems caused and try to sort them out.
The most important thing that you can do as a seller is, take a note of the things that are frequently returned. Try to figure out the problem in them and you’re all set.
As we saw, bringing down the return rate to zero is quite impossible. So, it’s always better to stay cautious and focus on the things that can be avoided, which have been an obstacle in your journey of bringing the return rate down.
If you think that we missed out on something, feel free to put up your suggestions in the comment section below.