Returns can be the surprise drain on resources that many e-commerce businesses simply don’t see coming. According to Invesp, around 30% of all products ordered online are returned and this can complicate cash flow and create an escalating cost. Although you can’t prevent returns, it is possible to take steps to reduce the volume of returns that your business receives, and to ensure that they are well managed.
Upgrade your product descriptions
Returns are often the result of a customer buying an item that turns out not to meet with expectations – one survey by Chargeback found 23% of product returns were the result of an inaccurate depiction of the product, for example. Product descriptions are frequently to blame for returns, whether they are lacking in detail or don’t have the kind of visuals (such as video or images) that enable a customer to make a really well informed choice. Investing in product descriptions is a good first step towards ensuring customers get the products they are expecting and so don’t need to make a return.
Gather data on returns
Something as simple as customers identifying the reason for a return can provide valuable information when it comes to cutting return rates in the future. By asking this question you may discover that customers are not happy with the quality of ordered items, or that a large percentage of orders are wrong. Although it may be difficult to hear this kind of feedback, it’s invaluable when it comes to better tailoring your business and products to ensure happy customers.
The advantages of incorporating customer reviews
Positive product reviews can help to sell items and provide reassurance about service. They can also be useful when it comes to adding detail to the picture that a customer has of an item before buying it. This can make for a more accurate purchasing decision. So, for example, a customer review may identify that the fit of a top is true to size or that the colour of a sofa is slightly darker than it appears in the product page images. The result is that future customers have more information to use to make a purchase that they are happy with.
Get to know your audience better
Analytics and audience segmentation can give you a lot more insight into who and where your customers are and how they are likely to behave when it comes to returns. In particular, this will enable you to identify customers who could be potentially problematic when it comes to returns – or who are “repeat offenders” – so that you can look to address the issue of why they are repeatedly sending items back and take steps to reduce the frequency.