Operating your own ecommerce website is an exciting and empowering way to make a living or earn a little extra money; and a lot of new entrants are getting in on the fun. Still, there is a lot to consider when opening your online business, particularly, returns.
Processing returned products can be pricey and time consuming for small and medium ecommerce vendors. Research shows that at least 30 percent of all products ordered online are returned to the company. For comparison, the rate of return for brick-and-mortar shops is below 9 percent. Nothing deflates enthusiasm more than making a sale, just to process a refund a few days later.
There are numerous reasons a customer might request a return. Maybe the product was damaged, didn’t fit right or was just different than they imagined. These are all problems online stores have to deal with over physical shops.
Thankfully, there are a few things you can do to reduce the number of returns you have to manage and make your customers happy again.
Use Higher Quality Materials: You know what they say, ‘quality is king.’ If you want to keep your buyers cheery, satisfied and coming back for more, make sure your goods are well crafted and delivered without damage. Otherwise you could spend a lot of time processing refunds and fielding customer complaints.
Display Sizing Charts: Selling shoes, clothing and accessories online can be difficult. After all, everyone’s body is different and customers can’t try on clothes until after they buy them; which is why some shoppers buy multiple products and return what doesn’t fit. Cut back on this behavior by anticipating your customers’ needs. Provide detailed sizing charts on all your products.
Ensure Accurate Product Representations: Online shoppers put a lot of trust into photographs and descriptions since they cannot touch or see your products in person. That’s why it is absolutely vital that you provide clear and easy-to-read product descriptions and accurate images for all your goods. Take things to the next level by utilizing product videos, modeling photography and images with different color options.
Developing a Return Policy: Various website builders and ecommerce platforms, like Shopify, recommend that users create a return policy page that satisfies both buyer and seller. Make is easy to find: Studies show that 67 percent of online consumers check the returns page before checking out. Keep is simple: Nix any hidden charges for returns and skip the legalese. And finally, make it clear — will shoppers get a cash refund or store credit?
Investigate Your Drop Shipping Provider: Are you seeing an inordinate number of returns due to low quality or incorrect deliveries? If you use a drop shipper, you might want to investigate the matter further. Many ecommerce vendors use drop shipping to reduce the burden of storing and shipping products themselves. However, one of the drawbacks is that store owners have little to no direct contact with the process which could lead to a dip in quality. Ensure your drop shipper is up to snuff before giving them your business.
Provide ‘Proper Care’ Recommendations: Sometimes things just don’t work like they should and it can be difficult to figure out why. Was it assembled correctly? Was it being used properly? Was it cleaned inappropriately? Think about providing troubleshooting videos or FAQs on your website so customers can remedy simple-to-fix problems without troubling you for a refund.
It might also behoove you to have a knowledgeable customer service staff member on hand to field customer questions and reduce the need for returns. While it is impossible to stymie returns and exchanges forever, you can greatly improve your sales by catering to your customers’ needs.