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7 easy tips to reduce product returns and boost eCommerce sales

how to reduce product returns

Over 30% of global eCommerce sales of products end up being returned. While product returns are inevitable and frustrating for retail operations, the critical thing is knowing how to handle them. Studies suggest that over 92% of consumers said they would buy again if the product return process is easy.

From return policies to training staff on successfully dealing with in-store returns and exploring opportunities on how to reduce product returns, you can apply a myriad of techniques to increase online sales and plummet your return rates. And all of them revolve around one thing: creating the best eCommerce customer experience.

So, without further ado, let’s dive right into business strategy to increase sales and strike a balance between product returns and eCommerce sales.

Tip #1: Add multiple images to your product descriptions

It might seem like a no-brainer, but there are so many product pages that include only a single product image. B2C eCommerce customers are accustomed to viewing an eCommerce product from multiple angles, in 360-degree view and maybe in real-time (in case of Augmented Reality functionalities) to find hidden features. The difference between imagery and the actual product is one of the significant reasons why customers return products.

When brainstorming how to reduce product returns and increase online sales, follow the following tips:

  1. Add multiple high-quality close-up images of the product. At least add five photos of your product. The more, the merrier. 
  2. Optimize all images for multiple devices and touchpoints since most eCommerce traffic comes from mobile devices. 
  3. Integrate zoom-in and zoom-out features to allow users to review the product closely. 
  4. Match your product description to the images displayed. If the product is available in different colors and patterns, mention that in the description.

Tip #2: Bring your products to life with videos

Videos must be an integral part of your business strategy to increase sales, which is why several eCommerce sites incorporate high-definition product videos to their product descriptions, especially clothing and home electronics brands.

An eCommerce clothing store can add videos to give customers a better idea about their product’s look and feel. And, home electronics brands can demonstrate product usage with detailed videos explaining its features and benefits. In the end, videos help customers make the right decision, reduce product returns, and boost customer engagement, leading to higher eCommerce sales.

Tip #3: Offer real-time support through live chat

In a retail store, when a customer has any question regarding a product, they ask the staff around. So shall be the case when shopping online. When customers get prompt answers to their inquiries, they are more likely to make purchasing decisions that don’t end up being returned. If items don’t meet a customer’s requirement, you can provide them with eCommerce customer service that suggests a more suitable item or an add-on purchase to match product expectations.

Chatting with your customers on live chat provides you an opportunity to educate customers about the products and services that suit their buying behavior. Even so, you can offer AI-based product recommendations on live chat and improve eCommerce sales numbers.

Tip #4: Offer monetary benefits in exchange for reviews and recommendations

Online reviews impact over 93% of online buying decisions. A shopper reads at least 2-3 reviews and feedback before completing a purchase. It is why you need to encourage more online reviews for your products. And, if you’re struggling to get enough reviews, offer monetary incentives like gift cards or discounts on future purchases. With enough reviews, you can learn more about your products and the issues customers face to further improve product quality, which leads to the end goal- increase online sales and decrease product returns.

Moreover, on the returns page, provide checkboxes to all the common issues like color difference, sizing issues, or actual product different from the images to know more about the return and prevent it from happening with the next purchase. In the long run, it significantly reduces product returns and promotes eCommerce sales.

Tip #5: Give product packaging required attention

After closing a sale, your only task is to package the product properly and provide customers with timely updates and live tracking of items. Customers return over 20% of online products in the context of ‘received damaged product.’ And such returns can be easily prevented. So, when thinking of how to reduce product returns, the following tips will help you increase online sales.

  1. Package your items to proof them against water. Make sure you use enough padding and bubble wrap for fragile items and place them in multiple boxes before placing them in a bigger box to secure the product.
  2. Ensure that your box has the correct information about its contents and delivery address. If you’re in the plant business, make sure you include care tips like which temperature does it and how to position it. 
  3. To personalize purchases, you can include a note about your brand, its mission, and how content you are about serving them. Personalized messages make your customers feel special and prized.

Tip #6: Crystal clear product return policies to increase online sales

Having a transparency return policy is how you reduce product returns. Easy to read and understand policies are one of the best ways to increase eCommerce sales and answers your question regarding how to reduce product returns. Communicate your return policies across all eCommerce sales channels-mobile, web, social, and others.

That said, a product return policy must encompass: 

  • The validity of the return: Most sites allow product returns for 15-30 days from the date of purchase. Specify the duration of return.
  • Conditions for return: Define the requirements for return, as the product must be in good condition with tags still on, must be in original packaging, must have the actual bills, etc.
  • Not valid for returns: Some eCommerce purchases might not be valid for exchange or return like discounted items, books, skincare products, food, flowers, etc. So, mention them in your return policy.
  • How to get back refunds: How do customers want their money back? Do they want it in their original payment account, e-wallet, or as store credit?
  • When to receive the refund: Usually, once the product has been tested in the warehouse, the refund is processed and received within 3-5 working days. Give a window as to when customers can expect their refund.

Tip #7: Offer an easy and quick product return experience

Product returns are a part of positive eCommerce customer experiences. Even if something went wrong and a customer had to return the product, offering seamless return experiences further cements your relationship with the customers, resulting in further eCommerce sales. No trick or tip can prevent you from product returns, but you can turn returns into future revenue opportunities by making product returns as breezy as possible, eventually helping to increase online sales. The following are some ways you can improve your product return experience:

  1. Provide return tracking numbers
  2. Keep customers informed about their returns via email 
  3. Offer them a refund, exchange, and in-store credits
  4. Provide refunds within 3-5 days of product return

Make the most of your product returns

When you run a digital commerce store, customer returns are a part of the deal. But it doesn’t have to take a chunk out of your sales and revenue figures. The above tips will help you with how to reduce product returns and increase online sales. Remember, customer retention is 4 times cheaper than eCommerce customer acquisition, and practicing a sound product return strategy is a part of the former.

Other than the stated creative ways to increase retail sales, our experts also offer a free consultation to boost eCommerce sales and lower the product return rate on your eCommerce site.

From product returns to revenue opportunities.

Our experts help you make the most of your online store.

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