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5 Tips To Reduce Product Returns

October 26, 2020 Published by

man unhappy with box delivery

Generating sales can be an exciting part of your journey to ecommerce success, but there is a catch: Not all your sales are meant to be. In this age of fast, free shipping and returns, customers are more apt to return products than ever. Although customers love the security and convenience that modern-day return policies tend to offer, the brands serving them may feel differently. In this post, we’ll give you the 5 tips to reduce product returns and explain why it’s so important to take action.

Why Reduce Product Returns?

Why reduce product returns? In short, they cause financial strain on several fronts. Here is a breakdown of the financial costs product returns can produce for an ecommerce business:

  1. Refund Cost: The business loses a sale and potentially a customer.
  2. Shipping Cost: Businesses that offer free shipping and returns invest in their customers by taking care of shipping costs.
  3. Product Disposition Cost: Product returns must be inspected and be resold, liquidated, or discarded. If a product is liquidated, the business loses money as they must sell it for less than its original value. In the worst-case scenario, the item is trashed and there is no way to recoup any investment.

 Fortunately, there exist ways to reduce product returns.

Top Tips for Reducing Product Returns

  1. Use imagery that represents your products accurately

When it comes to your product displays, it’s best to be as thorough as possible. Products look different depending on the angle they are looked at, and your customer must be able to view them from all perspectives. 360-degree product images are the ideal way to showcase products, especially if you are selling furniture or technical items. However, if you cannot provide 360-degree images, give customers the ability to zoom in and view close-up images. Be sure all your images look great on mobile as, for a great deal of ecommerce stores, the amount of mobile traffic is higher than desktop traffic.

  1. Create videos

Although pictures are useful, videos truly bring your items to life, especially for the most returned product categories – home electronics and clothing. For clothing, models can show how a garment moves, giving your customers an idea of how it will fit and flow on them. In the case of functional items like home electronics, videos will show how a product works in use.

  1. Incentivize and encourage customer feedback

Customer feedback is the best way to learn more about how your products work and are perceived in the world. Reviews give you the opportunity to identify issues with your products or help you create better product descriptions. Therefore, you should not shy away from feedback, instead you should encourage it. A couple ways exist to do this. First, on your return forms, add tick boxes so customers can flag problems like a product being a different size than expected or not looking as advertised. Second, you can provide incentives for customers to leave reviews with rewards like a discount voucher or free item. Make sure to read through your reviews regularly to think of ways to improve your product listings.

  1. Ensure proper packaging

Proper packaging is a key factor in avoiding returns as they help prevent returns caused by damaged and broken items. Use protective materials to ensure your items are resistant to impact, water, and temperature fluctuation. Also make sure to mark your packages with information about what they contain and how they should be stored.

  1. Display delivery estimates clearly

Always make it clear in your product pages, basket, and checkout how long it will take orders to reach a customer BEFORE a customer places an order. It is particularly important to do this for products that are produced on demand like furniture.  Also be mindful of weekends and holidays. Giving your customers the ability to choose a specific delivery date can result in a better experience even if they need to pay extra.

Everything in Moderation

Although offering free returns can be helpful in improving your customer experience, make sure you don’t let them get out of hand. If you find the number of returns your business receives are unacceptable, try to employ the tips above and reduce returns.