As a business owner, you know how important it is to keep ecommerce returns to a minimum, especially during peak seasons. They cut into your profits and create additional work and hassle for you and your team. Returns cost retailers an estimated 66% of the total price of the original product sold, depending on the item, shipping costs and other fees.
A clear, comprehensive ecommerce returns policy is a great preventive measure against this occurrence. It helps customers understand how and when they can return products, acting as insurance for them and your business. However, there are other less obvious but nevertheless influential tactics you can and should employ.
Here are seven more ways you can reduce ecommerce returns, protect your profit margin and improve customer satisfaction.
Write Clear Product Descriptions
One of the most common reasons for ecommerce returns is customers receiving products that are different than expected. To prevent this miscommunication, craft detailed and accurate product descriptions.
Be sure to include information that could affect a customer’s purchasing decision, such as:
- Condition (new, used, refurbished, open box)
- Colors, especially if you sell an item with multiple options
- Materials used
- Warranty information
- Dimensions and weight
- Care or use instructions
- Any other relevant details
Include Detailed Product Images
High-quality product images are essential to help customers visualize the product they’re considering buying. So, include photos that show the item from multiple angles and in different lighting. Also, consider featuring images of the product being used or in context, such as a model in a dress or a piece of furniture in a room.
Encourage Gift Cards
Gift cards eliminate the possibility of a recipient returning an item, as they’re a final-sale option. Promote gift cards during peak seasons to help customers find the perfect gift and remove the potential for returns.
Display Sizing Charts
A common reason code for returning apparel items is poor fit, a frustrating but inevitable occurrence. To help customers and mitigate the frequency of this outcome, provide accurate sizing charts. Be sure to include detailed measurements and instructions for measuring. For example, U.S. and Canadian sizing differs greatly from European countries. A sizing conversion chart for various countries can be especially helpful for both you and your customers.
Offer Customer Support and Communication
Swift, reliable customer support reduces ecommerce returns by helping shoppers make informed decisions. Consider offering live chat or phone support during peak seasons to answer any questions. This helps manage customer expectations and ensures they understand what they’re buying, which lowers the likelihood of a return.
Additionally, customers may try to initiate a return when an item is slow to arrive. You can prevent that by providing tracking information and updates so they know if their order has been delayed in transit.
Allow Returns for Store Credit
While no business likes to deal with returns, offering store credit instead of refunds can be a win-win for you and the customer. You save the sale and keep the customer. Consider this option for returns during peak seasons to maintain consumer satisfaction while protecting your profit margin.
Monitor Fulfillment Process
Regularly check your fulfillment process to identify and remedy any issues contributing to repeat returns. Make sure your products are shipped correctly and with the right dunnage to avoid damage in transit. If you notice any patterns of returns related to specific products, reevaluate how they’re shipped or packaged.
Consider partnering with a third-party logistics provider (3PL) as they can ship all of your products safely and securely, helping prevent issues in transit that lead to returns.
Reducing returns during peak seasons is critical for your ecommerce business to maximize its revenue. You need a clear and easy-to-follow returns policy so shoppers know what they’re committing to before they buy. They’ll appreciate this transparency, which helps build trust and confidence in your brand.
Implementing these steps will help you limit returns, lessen your peak season workload, improve customer satisfaction and boost your bottom line. Careful planning and attention to detail will strengthen your ecommerce business, while providing customers with an excellent shopping experience that keeps them coming back.
Tom Wicky is the cofounder and CEO of MyFBAPrep