Prevent returns with these 4 strategic tips

Prevent returns with these 4 strategic tips
Jonas van de Poel
Jonas van de Poel
Content Writer
Posted on
February 16, 2023
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Everyone knows how frustrating returns can be. Whether it is about wrong sizes, colors or products, the return process is not only time-consuming, but also costly. Moreover, returns also have a negative impact on customer satisfaction and the image of your shop. 

Fortunately, there are some strategies you can apply to prevent returns and improve your return process. In this article, we will look at some concrete things you can apply to prevent returns in the future; some tips will already be familiar, others might just give you that push to get started! First some context.

How many returns is normal for web shops?

There is no hard rule for the number of returns that is normal for webshops, but it is important to know that returns are an unavoidable part of any webshop. Depending on the industry, the number of returns can vary between 5% (electronics) and 30% (clothing and shoes) of the total number of products sold.

However, it is important to realize that every return is a cost and also affects customer satisfaction and the image of your shop. Therefore, it is important to make every effort to prevent returns; in many cases, this will cost you nothing!

Tip 1: Improve product descriptions and images

Good product descriptions and realistic images are crucial to preventing returns. By using 360-degree product images, accurate size charts and product descriptions, and possibly product videos and demonstrations, you can best inform the customer about the product. 

This reduces the risk of false expectations and wrong purchases. You can see an example of a good way to address this here: 

Things that stand out: 

  • Accurate description about the fit of the product
  • Size chart as part of the purchase decision
  • Body dimensions of model attached
  • Chat function for any questions about the product
  • Extensive photos of the product and close-ups of the fabric

Tip 2: Improve return policy

Improving return policies is an effective way to prevent returns. Here are some key elements you might consider when creating your return policy:

Paid returns: by allocating the cost to the customer, you have less cost. We published a study showing that paid returns have a positive effect on your bottom line 

Simple and quick return process: by making the return process as simple and quick as possible, your customers will view the return moment as positive which improves the chances of a repeat purchase 

Transparency about return costs: by being clear and transparent about any return costs, you avoid unpleasant surprises for the customer and increase customer satisfaction.

Encourage exchanges: by encouraging exchanges and offering them easily, you ensure that you retain sales. 

Tip 3: Improve customer service

Reducing customer service calls can be an important goal for your business. One of the ways you can achieve this goal is by ensuring an optimal return process.

An optimal returns process includes clear return terms and procedures, a returns portal to help customers return products, and quick and easy refunds and exchanges. 

By providing a good returns process, you can easily reduce the number of customer service inquiries arising from returns. A good returns process is not only important for reducing customer service issues, but also for increasing customer satisfaction. 

By providing a positive customer experience during the returns process, you can improve your brand's reputation and increase customer loyalty.An optimal returns process can help reduce customer service calls and improve customer satisfaction. 

If you provide clear return terms and procedures, use technologies to optimize the return process and apply best practices, you can be successful in reducing customer service calls and providing an excellent customer experience. 

Tip 4: Data analysis and reporting

How data can help reduce returns

Product returns are a familiar problem for many e-commerce businesses. Not only is the cost of shipping the product to the customer high, but the return process can be costly and time-consuming. Fortunately, data can help address this problem.

E-commerce companies collect a wealth of data on customers, orders and returns. By properly analyzing and interpreting this data, you can reduce return rates and increase customer satisfaction. In this article, we discuss some of the ways data can help reduce returns.

Analyze return data

One of the first steps in reducing returns is to analyze the reasons for returns. By analyzing the reasons for returns, a company can understand the causes of returns. This can help identify problems in production or delivery and adjust the strategy to resolve them.

When a company notices that a particular product is frequently returned because of defects, for example, the company can adjust the production and delivery process to improve the quality of the product. 

If customers return products frequently because of the wrong size, a company can improve product descriptions and offer tools to help customers choose the right size.

Personalize the customer experience

Using data to personalize the customer experience can reduce the likelihood of returns. For example, by making recommendations based on previous purchases or helping customers choose the right size, customers can be more confident in their purchases and less likely to return products.

A good example of personalized recommendations is Amazon, which gives its customers recommendations based on their previous purchases and search history. This helps customers find products they like and are less likely to be returned.

Optimize product descriptions

Clear and accurate product descriptions are essential to managing customer expectations. By using data to analyze which product features cause the most questions or complaints, a company can improve or modify these features in the product description.

A good example of optimizing product descriptions is Zalando, which has been able to reduce the number of returns by improving product descriptions. 

The company has more clearly described the length and width measurements of its products so that customers better understand which size to order. As a result, customers are less likely to return products because of the wrong size.

Improve delivery and shipping

Another factor contributing to returns is product delivery and shipping. By using data to analyze delivery times, a company can reduce the time between order and delivery. This can make customers more satisfied with delivery and less likely to return products.

An example of a company that has improved delivery and shipping to reduce returns is Zara. The company has drastically reduced the delivery time for its products and now offers free delivery and returns. As a result, customers are more satisfied with delivery and less likely to return products.

Besides preventing returns, improve the return process?

You can do that with Returnista's returns software. You can use it to stimulate exchanges without any effort, extract valuable data from your returns and stay ahead of the competition with unparalleled service. Want to know more? Request a demo on our website.

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