Are you running an online store, worried about the fast-rising product return rate? Then trust me, you are not alone! According to latest statistics (find the link at the end), almost 30% products, purchased online, are returned. On the other hand, only 8-9% products from brick-and-mortar stores are returned after purchase. So, it can be safely said that a majority of online retailers are always looking for tips to reduce eCommerce return rate.
Here in this article I am going to narrate some quick tips to reduce eCommerce return rate. But before that, let me explain what are the exact reasons that attribute to eCommerce returns.
Why Online Products Are Returned So Often- Know The Reasons Before Planning to Reduce eCommerce Return Rate!
The first reason is damaged or faulty product which causes almost 20% product return.
Around 22% buyers return their online purchases because the physical product looks very different from the website display or catalog description.
23% buyers return because they receive the wrong item, may be different color or incorrect size.
Few other reasons that cause eCommerce product return are:-
- The customer needs a different size or color.
- The buyer placed the order by mistake by clicking on a wrong product. It can happen if the eCommerce portal is too complicated for a first time buyer to understand.
- The buyer needs an upgraded version which was not available when he placed the order.
5 Quick Tips to Reduce eCommerce Return Rate
Enforce Strict Quality Control Measures
If your products are getting returned often because buyers receive them in broken or damaged condition, then it’s time to enforce strict quality control measures. Take a close look at your inventory management process.
Make sure your products are stored properly and packed carefully. Also you should double-check the shipping procedure.
Do you feel that the online shipping company is not delivering as promised? Then don’t hesitate to shift to a better option, even if it means spending few extra dollars! You may need to use an advanced inventory management software or app to streamline the entire process.
If you are looking for ways to increase eCommerce sales in 2020, then you simply can’t ignore quality control. Remember, repeated return of damaged products can seriously hurt your business reputation and of course, costs you lots of money too!
Work Out The Return Policy Smartly – One of The Effective Tips to Reduce eCommerce Return Rate
If you want to apply some smart tips to reduce the eCommerce return rate then consider this.
You can plan a return policy where the buyer gets more time to return the product, e.g. 2 months to return the product.
Now, don’t be intimidated! When you give them more time it doesn’t mean repeated returns. It might work the opposite way.
Often human psychology works in a bit complicated manner. When your buyers come to know, they have enough time to return the item, often they tend to get a bit lethargic and keep delaying the process. Unless the return is absolutely necessary they may actually forget to send it back!
Here’s another tip for you to reduce the eCommerce product return rate. Simply encourage buyers to visit the nearby physical store to return the item instantly. There are buyers who might not like this idea of visiting a physical store.
Just by knowing that a delivery boy won’t visit to pick up the product for return, is reason enough for many to abandon the entire process! And of course, in-store returns can reduce your overall operating costs too.
Let Them Pay a Shipping Charge- One of The Sure Tips to Reduce eCommerce Return Rate
When the buyer is simply asking for a return and wants the money back, then don’t make it so easy for him/her! You should deduct a shipping charge for returned products.
May be you can offer it for free to first-time buyers but not to existing customers who are taking the service for granted.
You can definitely make it a win-win situation for both by offering free return service, provided the customer agrees to opt for an exchange. Also, you shouldn’t deduct any charge, if the customer decides to keep the money in your e-store wallet, for the next purchase.
Be Transparent in Describing Your Products
If your product descriptions are misguiding buyers then the fault is yours!
So, take a close look at how your product descriptions are written. Be honest is replying these questions:-
- Does your product catalog provide an incomplete or incorrect description of the physical items?
- Are you offering product picture and videos which look too shiny and gorgeous as compared to the real item?
- Have you missed out on crucial information, e.g. size chart, material information, measurement, color variation, etc.?
If you are not sure how to write the product description, then do some online research. Else you can always hire an expert writer who has previous experience of writing for eCommerce portals.
Simplify The Check-Out Process So That It Doesn’t Misguide Inexperienced Buyers
When someone visits your online store for the first time to make a purchase, encourage him/her to check the instructions and FAQ pages first. This will help clear doubts and confusion about the purchase process.
Also, it is highly advised that you simplify the check-out process as much as possible.
- When the buyer proceeds with the check-out, don’t display any pop-ups. It might lead to an abrupt click on a product which the buyer doesn’t intend to buy.
- Also, make it easy for the buyer to complete the purchase process on mobile devices.
- Always display a summary of the purchase and ask the buyer to confirm, before proceeding with the payment.
- Provide as many visuals as possible to make it clear to inexperienced buyers.
Download a Generic Return and Refund Policy Template
It can be indeed a tricky situation for online sellers to implement strict measures to reduce the eCommerce return rate. If not done properly, you may end up offending some genuine buyers which you surely don’t want. So, take some time out to study the entire situation. If needed, tweak the return policy a bit to ensure it addresses your business interest and also keeps your buyers happy!
Ref. link: Statistics about e-commerce return