"Returns can be a disease," says Shopify, which is severely attacking the profit margins, blocking conversions, and eventually threatening business to the brink.
Yes, brink, leaving diverse possibilities to make high margins. It encourages businesses such as e-commerces sellers and retailers to find the loopholes that can help them to cut down on the returns. Most of the businesses offer free returns and exchanges to woo more shoppers to make a purchase.
In the United States alone, Statista found that by 2020 return deliveries are estimated to cost $550 billion, 75.2% more than almost half a decade ago. This number does not include inventory losses nor restocking, which is even worse.
Believing customer services is the new marketing, most of the businesses say returns are regarded to be new normal. It helps businesses to convert shoppers into valued customers.
According to Narvar's Consumer Return Report (2018), 41% of consumers would buy variations of a product with and intend to return, 42% of buyers have returned the product purchased online in the last six months, and 83% have returned an online purchase in last 3 years.
To tackle the return rate, most of the businesses are expanding warehouse spaces, adding workers, and setting separate departments to deal with the returns. Returns can be a normal thing but what differentiates your brand is how you deal with the returns before and after purchase.
Impact of Returns on Online Sales
As mentioned above 54% of the consumers are more likely to buy online if the return or exchange is free.
- 62% of the buyers “would buy again” if the brand offers free returns or exchanges (Dotcom Distribution, 2018)
- 69% are discouraged from making an online purchase if they have to pay for return shipping (Narvar, 2018)
- 96% would shop again from a retailer that offers “easy” or “very easy” return experience (Narvar, 2018)
Here are some way businesses can reduce the return rate
Before you try to fix the returns and exchanges, you need to fix the operational obstacles such as logistics and drafting policy for returns and exchanges. You must focus on the problems that prompt customers to ask questions like "where is my exchange" or "where is my refund?"
1 Easy Return or Exchange Policies
You might think that it's better to enforce stringent return policies to reduce the return rates but it could be counter-productive.
As per Shopify, 83% of buyers check whether the business offers returns before making any purchase, and researchers believe that the costs of returns can stop them from buying at all.
Easy return and exchange policies encourage buyers to place an order in the first place. Knowing that they can return without any hassle or return costs, they buy even more confidently. You must also know that 77% of returns come from regular customers, while 72% of buyers say they purchase more from a site that offers easy returns.
2 Reduce Avoidable Mistakes
As per the Chain Store Age, 63% of returns are due to the errors made by the retailer. So, there's an ample scope to reduce your returns by fixing your operational problems.
- 23% of returns are because the wrong product was delivered.
- 23% of returns happen because the product looked very different from what was display online.
- 20% of online returns are because of the consumer receiving a damaged item.
3 Clear Product Information
The product is likely to be returned if the buyer purchases the product without being informed about it. So, it becomes inevitable for brands to display clear and required information to help the buyer make an informed purchase.
IKEA is the best example of enlisting your product details. They give as much information as required to help their customers understand the product better before making a purchase. It eventually reduces the returns.
4 Encourage Customer Reviews
The more good reviews on a product, the better. A product with over 50 positive reviews reduces the return rate by 135% than those with less than five reviews. Reviews help buyers in making an informed purchase.
5 Informative displays of the product
This alone can have a great impact on reducing your returns. With on-demand and online-customized photography available in the market, it has become easy, like never before, to get high-quality product images for your brand.
22% of the returns happen because the product that a buyer received didn't match one he saw while making an online purchase. Product return can be a new normal but you can always leverage high-quality, zoomable images to reduce the return rate by over 22%.
According to a study, over 33% of customers prefer to see multiple images of a product before making any purchase. About 60% like to see images that allow a 360-degree view of a product, helping businesses to increase the conversions up to 50%.
With most of the businesses relying upon the product videos and highly zoomable product images, the return rates have drastically gone down with an increase in conversions. Product images and videos are the next big thing for any business. Click here, if you're still wondering why brands need high-quality product images.
We have produced high-quality visual content for the top brands like Flipkart, OYO, Yatra, BigBasket, Snapdeal, PP Jewellers, WedMeGood, and many others. We cater to all kinds of visual content requirements from all kinds of businesses across the country. Explore here, what we can do for you!
Read our case study on how we helped PP Jewellers, a signature jewellery brand, with high-quality visual content.
Five things you can do to fix you returns instantly:
Sizing: Since 52% of the surveyed Shopify customers said that the product is either too large or too small, you need to provide the correct sizing of the product.
Free Returns: Encourage your customers to read your return policy. Offering free returns or an exchange policy can help you improve your conversions.
Live chat: Provide live chat to your customers so that they can clear their doubts before making any purchase.
Late-arrival returns: Exercise accurate shipping time to reduce late-arrival returns.
High-quality visuals: High-quality images can help you increase your conversions and reduce returns by over 22%. Order You Shoot Now!
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