With the holidays boosting the sales of your online store, another seasonal trend follows: surging returns. While offering an effective returns policy, merchants naturally strive to keep the return rate as low as possible. The best way to do that is to know what reasons lie behind those returns so that you can go about mitigating them.
We spoke to a lot of retailers out there and gathered the most common reasons as follows:
- Quality of product or wrong size/fit
- Product not what customer expected
- Arrived too late for customer’s needs
- Product looks different than what it looked like online
Here are a few steps you can take to reduce the rate of returns to your online store.
Provide good quality images and an accurate product description
To help shoppers better visualise how the product would function and what it will actually look like – use high-quality product images with model shots and views from different angles to help shoppers visualise the product better.
Provide (accurate) item information
It may also be a good idea to provide as much accurate information as possible about the product, such as materials or ingredients that go into making the product as well as care instructions.
Many customers make frequent returns because they would take advantage of the generous returns policy to order several of the same items in various sizes when they intend to only keep one – that is the one they like best or the one that fits.
Encourage the shopper to make their choice early on
While we can’t really stamp out serial returners, one way to reduce this type of behaviour, especially in apparel shoppers is to offer detailed size guides.
Provide social proof
70% of shoppers consult reviews or ratings before purchasing, and 71% agree that consumer reviews make them more comfortable that they are buying the right product (Source: The Review of Reviews – PeopleClaim). Shoppers can better ascertain whether the product meets their requirements by browsing through customer reviews and answers to past customers’ questions such as those relating to size and fit. Here, online leather bag startup, Linjer makes a great example:
Image source: www.linjer.co/collections/men-minimalist-watches
You can also offer personalised customer service via phone and online chats to provide assistance such as product advice to help customers with their decision making.
Improve your delivery service
While it may not be fully possible to guarantee on-time deliveries so that you never had to process a return due to an item reaching the customer too late, the carriers you use and their service level can often affect your delivery service, and in turn, your customer experience. Therefore, you should still strive to improve what is within your control, that is to minimise the chances of late deliveries that are caused by inefficiencies of your carriers or delivery setup.
Parcel Perform is able to help you monitor carrier performance using our intuitive logistics intelligence dashboard to achieve an optimised delivery setup so that the risks of a late delivery can be minimised. We also provide global parcel tracking services that will help you and your customers with the tracking of your goods returns. This enhances customer experience as well as keeps your logistics operations organised in spite of the heavy holiday parcel traffic (Do check out the other solutions we offer that will help you enhance customer experience and boost sales).
Deliver your promises
Most importantly, be sure that your product is of good quality and meets what has been promised online.
Giving your customer a product drastically different from how it was featured online is a surefire way to guarantee that a demand for returns is coming your way and to also convince the customer to never purchase from you again.
So what are you waiting for? Time to put these steps into action to score happy customers this holiday season!