Returned products can be a major expense for ecommerce businesses. It’s estimated that around a third of all products purchased online are returned. That’s a lot of money coming out of your pocket. The most common reason for returns is that customers are unable to try or test a product in person when they buy it online. That’s the reason that the return rate is much higher for ecommerce than regular shopping. There are many ways you can help to reduce returns in ecommerce though. The following is a list of ten ways you can reduce returns, increase customer service, build customer trust and loyalty, and generally save money on expensive returns.
1. Optimize Product Descriptions
The first thing you can do to reduce product returns is to have better product descriptions. You want to avoid just copying and pasting the description the manufacturer gives.Find a way to describe the item in such a way that customers can practically feel it. You should be clear about the size, fit, and other dimensions of a product. This helps customers to understand how it is going to fit them.Writing and optimizing your product descriptions also boosts SEO and increases sales.
2. Use Better Product Photos
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and that certainly applies to e commerce and product photos. You want to make sure that the photos you take of your product aren’t misleading. You should use photos that aren’t heavily edited and avoid using photos that misrepresent your product in any way. Provide customers with the ability to zoom in on the image for a better look. Let them take a 360º view of the product. The right photos can make or break a sale and they show customers just what they are getting. A good photo reduces the risk that a customer will return a product because it wasn’t what they imagined when they bought it.
3. Use Product Reviews
There’s not much more important than customer reviews when it comes to online purchases. Everyone reads through a few reviews of a product before buying it online. These reviews give an honest view of a product. Customers also use them to answer questions that you didn’t get around to – and find answers to their own questions. Be sure to make it so that customer reviews are visible on the website. Keep in mind that you can manage reviews and highlight the good while hiding the bad if you want to. What matters is that you encourage users to leave reviews and you take the time to share those reviews with customers.
4. Provide Accessible Customer Service
Customers should always have immediate access to you – or your support staff – during the checkout process. Ecommerce merchants should offer some kind of contact to customers, whether it be through phone calls, video chats, or text chats. This gives customers the option to ask questions about a product before purchasing it. It doesn’t even need to be difficult, as many ecommerce platforms have a wide variety of addons that make customer service easier.
5. Offer FAQs and Answer Customer Queries
You need to make sure that you review the most frequently asked questions and customer queries. This gives you an idea as to whether customers have common questions about specific products. Look through customer questions and be sure to include the answers to frequently asked questions in the product description. Doing so gives customers a better idea of what to expect, reduces how many questions they have before making a purchase, and reduces the likelihood of returned products.
6. Use Tracking to Deliver on Time
Customer satisfaction(or dissatisfaction) is one of the biggest reasons products are turned. By ensuring that deliveries are made on time and offering tracking, you will reduce any potential disappointment not related directly to the product. If customers have to wait too long to get their product in the first place, they will be harsher when judging it and are more likely to return it. So get it to them before they have time to form a negative opinion without even trying it.
7. Check Orders Before Delivery
Checking orders before buying is something that many customers tend to miss. Checking orders for accuracy and damage before delivery will reduce the chances they will be returned because of internal mistakes. Checking orders is a simple concept but you’d be amazed how many merchants don’t bother checking an order before shipping it out. Never shipped damaged goods.
8. Packaging Can Make All the Difference
Similar to our last point, you should be careful with the packaging of products too. If you’re getting a lot of returns from unsatisfied customers with damaged products, then you should take a look at the delivery packaging. Are you sending glass products that get chipped, or clothes that get wrinkled? Take a closer look at the packaging to see if you can do anything to make the order more secure and attractive. Packaging sends a very clear message about a company. You should show customers that you value them and their packages by making it clear you’ve handled the package with some TLC.
9. Check-Out Funnel
You should consider giving your check-out funnel a once over. Do your customers have the option of reviewing their order before going through with it? Analyze the returned products to see if the customer bought it through an express checkout. There are lots of benefits to using a single page for checkout, of course, but a multi-page checkout offers customers the chance to ensure they are buying the right thing. If your business is being hurt by your express checkout, you should make some changes to the check-out funnel to sort out the problem.
10. Understand Why Products were Returned
You should have a system in place for returned products. If products are being returned all the time, then you should take a look at the product description or photos. Make sure they accurately represent the items you are selling. If the returns continue, then take it out of your inventory entirely. The best way to prevent customer returns is to understand why it was returned in the first place. What didn’t customers like about it? Did they order the wrong product? Was it the wrong size or color? How did that happen? Having the answers to these questions gives you the chance to develop an effective strategy to combat returns.
Take a look through these simple steps to reduce returns and give your ecommerce site a healthy boost. You want to keep your business profits in your pocket after all.Returning an item means losing out on the money you made from it in the first place. It can also damage your reputation and potentially dissuade people from buying from you in the future. Take care of product returns to ensure customers are happy, satisfied, and that they come back for more.