Returns can be an inconvenient and frustrating part of any business. According to a Barclaycard report, 60% of retailers are negatively impacted by returns. Returns require time and resources spent processing unexpectedly returned packages, authorizing refunds, and attempting to make the process smooth for clients so that they don’t rush off to one of your rivals as soon as they get their refund.
Returns are an unavoidable aspect of doing business online. The good news is that many of the difficulties that drive customers to return products are avoidable.
Here are 7 tips that will help your company drastically reduce its returns:
Use high-quality images and clear descriptions to accurately represent your product listings
The number of product listings without proper images or descriptions is surprisingly high, which ultimately leads to returns. This is a common problem in the online retail industry. Because customers are unable to physically see and touch the items, they are left to examine photographs and information provided by the seller. Here are some ways you can accurately represent your product listings:
- Setting aside some time to look over your current product listings and double-checking that each product has high-quality images, a clear description, and videos (where applicable) is one approach to decrease returns.
- Products have multiple sides, angles, and hidden characteristics that could aid the buyer in their decision process. Providing 360-degree product images gives the customer a better idea of the product, especially if you’re selling a technical item or a piece of furniture.
- Images are only one part of the equation. Including demonstrative videos is also a great way to bring products to life and can be especially effective when used for clothing and home electronics – the two highest returned categories.
- You should ensure that your product descriptions are accurate and include all the information that a customer might need before making a purchase. Make sure you highlight product size, weight, and material. Describe your products as if you were selling them personally, with as much detail and authentic storytelling as possible. In the same vein, be careful not to exaggerate and leave customers with unattainable expectations. Always remember to keep your product descriptions up
to date to avoid unwanted returns due to any misunderstanding.
Use sizing tools to provide correct sizing information
One of the major reasons for returns, particularly in the apparel industry, is when the products don’t fit as expected. Ensure that your size guides are up-to-date and compatible on both mobile and desktop. This will prevent clients from buying goods of incorrect size and returning them, increasing your return rate. By utilizing tools like size software and sizing charts, you can decrease the number of returns you receive due to sizing problems.
Sizing software like VurtueSize and TruFit allows customers to virtually try on clothes to see how they fit. Using these tools can help decrease returns by allowing buyers to determine how the clothing will fit before purchasing it.
Make sure the sizing chart you give on a specific product page is appropriate for that product, category, and brand. If you sell to customers in other countries, make sure to include international conversion tables for apparel as well as metric and imperial measures for dimensions.
Encourage your customers to leave reviews and feedback
Encourage consumers to give their own reviews and feedback on items they’ve purchased. This is one of the finest methods to help minimize the number of returns you receive. High ratings and favorable reviews from customers on a product often serve as quality assurance.
One of the best things about customer reviews is that they are more trusted by potential customers than a product description. Customers will review the benefits and drawbacks of an item, if the sizing and descriptions were correct, and provide honest feedback on the item.
Provide checkboxes on returns forms to highlight concerns, such as if it looks different in the photos or seems larger/smaller than intended. You can then return to your product listings and provide necessary updates and modifications.
Provide customers with incentives such as discount coupons or vouchers to encourage them to leave reviews on your product.
Provide outstanding customer service by offering live chat and real-time support
Another great way to reduce your return rate is to prevent a potential return from occurring before the process begins. You can achieve this by creating a live chat program that allows customers to ask you questions about the items in real-time.
With live chat and real-time assistance, your customer support representatives can try to address the customer’s issue before the returns process is initiated. This also allows the customer care team to recommend a more suitable item or an add-on purchase to better fit their needs.
This will increase conversion rates while also preventing clients from purchasing items that do not meet their demands.
Get your packaging right
Returns often occur because the product arrives damaged. A simple solution to this issue is to ensure that your packaging can withstand the shipping process. You have limited control over how your packages are handled from the time they leave your warehouse until they arrive at the customer’s door. You can protect your items from damage and breakage by using protective packing such as:
- Choose sturdy boxes and ensure the products is securely packaged within the box. Do not cut corners on shipping supplies.
- Use waterproof packaging if your products are prone to water damage.
- When shipping fragile products, make sure to use plenty of padding and bubble wrap.
- Label your boxes with information on what is inside and how to store them.
As you resolve internal issues with your packaging, you can identify damage from other sources. For example, you can analyze order data to see if damaged orders come from a specific carrier.
Provide delivery estimates
Customers want their items delivered as quickly as possible and giving delivery time estimates for your product may help them feel more confident in their purchase. If a customer needs an item this week but you are unable to ship until the next week, the product is likely to be returned since the consumer no longer requires it by the time it arrives. Customers will be pleased knowing when to anticipate the goods, and you can help minimize returns by clearly identifying your delivery window on the product page. This is especially important in sectors such as furniture, where goods are manufactured on demand and have long lead times. By giving delivery estimates, you not only reduce returns but also enhance your customer service.
Deliver the right order
Sending the wrong order to the customer is one of the leading causes of returns, with 23% of people citing a wrong item as the reason behind their return. Improving order fulfillment is a great place to start when it comes to lowering eCommerce returns. Businesses that rely on spreadsheets and post-it notes to manage orders and fulfillment are setting themselves up for failure. Put in place a system to manage orders, select, pack, dispatch, and shipping. Using a third-party logistics provider (3PL) can significantly improve the efficiency of your fulfillment process.
Here at Fulfyld, we ensure that we deliver the right order to your customers. With double scanning during order picking and packing, as well as an organized storage system, we aim to minimize returns for our clients. Contact us today for more information!