When it comes to selling goods online, you’re always going to have to deal with more returns than physical retailers because your customers can’t see what they’re buying in person. Data from the World Economic Forum found that the rate of online returns varied depending on the category, but ranged from 25% and 60% of all orders. The cost of handling those returns averaged between 20% and 65% of the value of the goods, depending on the type of product being returned. On an annual basis, you’re looking at significant costs associated with handling customer returns, plus lost business. So, how can you reduce the frequency of returns and protect your profitability?
The Challenge of Online Returns
To determine the best ways to reduce eCommerce returns, it makes sense to explore why customers return products in the first place. Here are the most common reasons customers return items:
- The customer ordered the incorrect product or size
- The seller sent the wrong product or size
- The product was damaged
- Delivery was late
- The product was no longer required
- The product didn’t match the description or meet expectations
The description of a product is very important because your customers may not make a buying decision based solely on pictures of the item. Therefore, the description should tell a buyer everything they need to know about the item. The description should be followed by a bulleted list of key product features and specifications such as size dimensions. That way, customers are less likely to claim that the item you sent them didn’t match the description they read. Not only does this increase customer satisfaction and reduce returns, but it also protects you from negative reviews.
Enhance Product Images
According to one source, 75% of online shoppers rely on product images when making a buying decision. Furthermore, 22% of returns happen because the customer believes that the product looks different in person. Similar to descriptions, product photos must be detailed and clearly show the customer what they will receive. You need to ensure that the products you sell are photographed from every angle to help customers make up their minds. To reduce the number of returns you receive and cut your costs, it may be wise to invest in product photography.
If your product catalogue rarely changes, product photography could be a smart long-term investment because your products will be accurately showcased to your customers. A professional photographer will be able to capture your product images in a true-to-life way, under a range of lighting. High quality product images may reduce the number of returns and even increase the number of orders you receive because customers will have more confidence in the images on which they’re basing their buying decisions.
Improve Delivery Times
Delayed packages often lead to returned items, especially in situations where products were purchased for specific occasions such as a birthday or wedding. By improving your delivery performance, you can reduce the number of returns your business receives. Assessing your courier options and expanding the number of delivery options you offer can help to satisfy customers that need items quickly. Many courier companies offer same-day, next day and weekend deliveries, meaning customers may abandon the cart if they don’t see these choices at checkout. Improving delivery times will protect your brand from unhappy customers that may dimmish your reputation with negative reviews that could cause potential customers to shop elsewhere.
Partner With a Fulfilment Centre
If you want to take your customer service to the next level and drastically reduce returns, partnering with a fulfilment warehouse is a great choice. At EC Group, we specialise in getting every order right, the first time. And with 23% of customers citing receiving the wrong item as the reason for their return, we know we can make a big difference for your business. We have the experience and infrastructure needed to upscale your business, improve your delivery times, reduce returns and improve customer retention.
Say goodbye to ‘wrong item’ and ‘damaged in transit’ returns and negative customer reviews about ‘slow delivery’. Our team of logistics experts will ensure that all of your orders are packaged securely and safely, and swiftly shipped to your customers. Our fulfilment team will significantly reduce the number of products that get damaged in transit and ensure that customers get the items that they ordered on the expected delivery date, if not before. We work with the full range of courier companies and can advise you on the fastest delivery options to accelerate the fulfilment process, ensuring that your customers order again.
We Will Manage Your Returns
We recognise however that some returns are unavoidable. If you partner with us, we can handle all of your returns and ensure that they are all tracked on our fulfilment system, providing you with rich customer data that you can use to improve your business. If any issues arise during the fulfilment process, we have the knowledge and expertise to effectively resolve the situation without compromising the services that you and your customers receive. Let us transform your eCommerce business and create a better shopping experience for your customers.
Get in touch today to talk to a member of our skilled team about taking your eCommerce store to the next level.