Approaches to reducing the returns rate in eCommerce

Approaches to reducing the returns rate in eCommerce

Returns in the retail business usually mean that a customer is dissatisfied with a product or it does not meet expectations. The returns also imply additional expenses, and basically, a return means that a sale has failed. Therefore, every merchant’s goal is to optimize a store’s operations to reduce the returns rate as much as possible. We will review the most effective practices for an eCommerce store that would help minimize returns. 

Implementing customer-oriented return policies

Having generous return policies might seem to be contradicting the goal of reducing returns. However, this move could actually contribute to more sales and less return rate in the result for several reasons. A customer might feel that since the return policies are not strict and there is a possibility to make an easy return, it can influence the decision to commit to buying in the first place. Subsequently, the discrepancy between sales to returns might be much lower. 

Moreover, allowing a longer period for return also reduces the rate. This notion was studied in one of the researches, which indicated that the more time customers have to return a product, the less likely they will do so. The research explains that customers who have a product in possession for a longer period develop an attachment to it and are less willing to return it. Thus, the lenient and customer-oriented return policy comforts customers to make a decision to purchase and might contribute to a lower return rate, especially when compared to the ratio of sales to returns.   

The best description of products

A merchant has to ensure that products on an online store have a detailed description regarding everything: material, dimensions, size charts, photos from different angles, etc. This notion would mean that a customer would be more informed when making a decision to purchase. As a result, there will be fewer reasons for customers to return a product because it does not fit or it does not coincide with the expectations. As long as products have detailed descriptions of their properties, the only reasons for returns might be just personal reasons which are not related to something that a store failed to do. The detailed description and variety of product photos ensure that customers will not be disappointed or feel deceived that they made a purchase which does not fit their expectations. The advanced method to provide the full view of the product could be the implementation of 360-degree models, which can be reviewed from different sides. Hence, one may agree that the more information a customer has while making a purchase, the fewer chances it will be returned.

Customer reviews

Another reassuring factor for every eCommerce store is the presence of customer reviews. This element influences both sales of a store and provides more first-hand information/experience regarding a product. Customer reviews serve as social proof to inform that purchasing from a particular store is a trustworthy deal. In addition, customers can leave reviews with photos and explain certain features that are important-to-know for potential buyers. Meanwhile, allowing customers to ask questions in the review section provides additional reassurance to make a well-informed decision to buy the product and not have regrets. Lastly, the approach with the implementation of customer reviews is a generally-approved practice for any eCommerce store because it makes customers trust in the store’s credibility and provides them with information from other customers.

Bottom line

Lastly, it is important to mention that the approaches to the reduction of the return rate rely on providing customers with as much information as possible and ensuring that return policies are customer-oriented. These factors would mean that a customer would not have regrets about purchasing something that does not fit their expectations. At the same time, liberal return policies remove the stress from a customer and influence their confidence in making a purchase. When these approaches are implemented effectively, most of the returns take place only due to the personal reasons of a customer.

Related Articles

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments