E-commerce retailers know that returns are a part of life. Without the opportunity to touch, hold or try on merchandise they buy online, it's inevitable that customers will return a large proportion of it. According to one report, an average of 30 percent of all e-commerce purchases are returned, compared to about 9 percent of brick-and-mortar purchases.
During the holiday shopping season especially, the cost and time involved in handling excess returns can add to your stress — and cut into your profits. Fortunately, there are five simple steps you can take to minimize returns now and all year long.
1. Maintain high quality standards. Poor product quality is a common reason why products bought online get returned. Regularly inspect your inventory to make sure your suppliers are maintaining the level of quality you expect.
2. Package products carefully. If items are damaged or broken during shipping because they weren't properly packaged, you're going to get returns. Provide adequate protection for fragile products and mark packages for special handling when needed.
3. Provide detailed product descriptions. When a product description is sparse, shoppers have to take a chance and order an item without knowing its dimensions, fabric content, etc. When the product isn’t as expected, it gets returned. The more detail you can provide on your site, the better the decisions customers can make. Here’s some of the information you should provide:
4. Include plenty of images. Online shoppers expect more than just one blurry photo of a product. Be sure to:
5. Add customer reviews. When a product's description is lacking, shoppers can use customer reviews to get more details about the item. For instance, reviews can inform others if apparel or shoes run small or large, alert them to quality issues, or point out when pictured colors don't match the item.
Looking for some examples of how to do product descriptions, images, and reviews right?
Let's face it: Returns will always be part of e-commerce — and often, those frequent returners are some of your most loyal customers. But by taking the steps above, you can ensure your customers are more likely to be satisfied with their purchases, and that you'll have fewer returns to handle.