The most common reasons for product returns and how to combat the problem.
As hard as we try to create a better experience, the e-commerce industry is still bombarded with many problems making profitability harder to achieve for an online seller. According to a study by Invesp, 30% of all products ordered online are returned as compared to 8.89% in brick-and-mortar stores. Shoppers, more than ever expect hassle-free returns, and free return shipping. Returns are often a hard pill to swallow for most e-commerce companies, however there are a few things you can do to help prevent them from happening. I have listed out the most common reasons a product is returned and how to alleviate the problem ASAP.
False product images is a main reason a customer returns the product. Have you ever ordered something online, became overly excited when the packaged arrived only to find something different than what you expected? You quickly pull up the product on the website and compare it to what was shipped realizing the image on screen for a false advertisement. You feel defeated, promising to never ship that site again. This scenario may sound a bit extreme, however having poor quality images on your site can be detrimental to your business forcing customer to shop elsewhere. A simple solution to minimize this issue is to use high quality images. Providing multiple images showing off different angles of the items can really make or break a sale. It's always a good idea to put yourself in your consumers shoes and remember that they cannot touch, or see your product and providing them with the most clear image(s) is another step up to your competition.
I'm sure you have found something online that you wanted and loved, ordered, only to find that your product expectation was nothing close to what you hoped for. As a business owner and eCommerce seller, this happens far too often and something you need to be up to date on. Customers need to be receiving adequate and easily accessible information on the product their buying not only to ease any confusion or questions they have, but to decrease the chance for a return. The more information customers have about products and ordering processes, the more confident they will feel about their purchases. Integrating a pop up chat box on your website whenever a customer visits your page is something you will see often and a great way to communicate quickly with your customer. Its just another customer service tool that can add a personal touch and make the customer feel like their needs are being met. I can't tell you how many times I visit an FAQ page for a product i am interested in. It's a nice feature that allows the customer to read reviews, and find any questions they have that can quickly give them an answer instead of calling customer service or eliminate the product entirely.
Mis-picks and poor packaging are one of the main culprits for returned purchases. One solution is to outsource your fulfillment services to an ecommerce fulfillment provider. A good fulfillment center will have processes in place that reduce returns due to mis-picked items. There are numerous benefits you receive when you outsource your product to a 3PL, however one major benefit is the many relationships they have with all major shipping carriers. Communication and great customer service goes a long way when and if a situation like that arises. When these incidents happen, be sure to take steps to resolve the problem.
Although returns can hurt your bottom line and can be frustrating for a business owner, understanding your customer's wants and needs and eliminating the reasons why returns happen so often is a great step in gaining customers trust and return business.