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Ecommerce Returns: How to reduce them? With an overall improving plan.

When we are talking about ecommerce, it is impossible to not talk about the returns. Today, the return rate is on average 15% of the total purchases, reaching the 25% in the fascion sector. Especially significant is the ratio due to the last festivities, during which has been return articles for a total of 32 billion dollars.

These numbers are clear: if they are not handled accordably, the ecommerce returns can lead to huge losses. For this reason it is fundamental to structure a strategy and an action plan to optimize the results. 

What are the causes of the online returns?

First of alle, the first step to let your brand continuing growing and increasing the selling ratio of your ecommerce, is due to being aware of the causes and the impact of the returns phenomenon.

Is so fundamental to ask yourself some questions about tour own shop:
What is the main cause of your returns?
How much are they costing for my online shop exactly?

In order to figure it out, you have to base on deppened data collected during a sufficient period of time, taking advantage of adequate analytical tools. It will be thanks to the lecture of the data that you will start to collect some answers.
There could be various reasons behind the ecommerce returns, especially if we consider that each client lives an unique purchase and brand experience.
Anyway, the statistics allows you to figure it out the reasons more frequent than others.

The first 3 reasons for a client to resort to a returns are: 

  • flawes or damages of the product;
  • changing idea about the purchase, considered no more necessary;
  • the product not being adequate to the description on the website or catalogue.

Going down, further causes for returns of articles could be:

  • does not satisfy the expectations;
  • the brand send the wrong size;
  • few familiarity of the client with brand’s retail touchpoints;
  • few familiarity with the article bought;
  • purchase during festivities; 
  • wardrobing;
  • effective fraud.

How to reduce the ecommerce returns?

The second step is the projection of an effective return process that allows the customer satisfaction, lowering the refounding of their purchases.
Anyway, it is important to keep in mind that most of the time the returns incentives the wishing of continuing purchasing.This equals to saying that eliminating the return rate is not possible, but learning how to handle it, optimize it and exploit it is. 

In order to do this, it is fundamental to track and handle a complete, strategic and efficient customer journey in each phase. Here there is a list of aspects that needs to be improved: 

1. Optimize the product page

It is important that the page of the product describes in an exhaustive and coherent way the offered product. The user needs to know immediately what you are selling.
Enhance your texts:are they talking and realistics?
Check your images: did they show the product in all its aspects?
If there is a guide with the sizes, is sufficiently clear?
The user experience needs to be equal to the one offline, providing all the instruments  to evaluate the product.

2. Exploit your clients reviews

Do you read and answer to your clients reviews, even if they are negative?
Your presence as an online shop request a constant review and a continuous openness to dialogue. The comments give you the opportunity to offer to your client your point of view, showing confidence and professionality, but also humility and availabilities useful in order to fidelize it.

3. Analizza il tuo sito ecommerce nel complesso e testa il checkout funnel

Are you wearing the shoes of your customer?
How much time is needed to complete a purchase on your ecommerce?What are is difficulties? Does it meet the Call To Action in a clear and unmistakable way? In other words, does it reach the payment page in a natural and fluent way or not?
Those are all useful aspects in order to test and monitor, that can be really incisive on the Conversion and Return Rate.
The thing you should do is to continually increase the purchase experience and the customer journey in your ecommerce shop, eventually relying on a specialist team.

4. Handle better the online store with appropriate marketing choices 

Have you drafted an ecommerce calendar including festivities and special promotions?
In order to increase the volume of the online sellings is in fact fundamental to structure an annual plan of action to keep into consideration in different period of the year. It is useful to realize this analysis and strategy to spot since the beginning the moments in which push with more decision, proposing new launches of the products, promotions, discounts and special offers.

5. Monitor the whole logistic process, from the stock to the shipping of your products

Do you always guarantee the best conditions for handling the orders?
Do you offer the tracking option?
Do you personalize the user experience with added values?
If always keeping under control the stock and the distribution of your is nowadays a must, adding to this the offer of something more compared to what you expect, like the shipping during the day or the chance to personalize the packaging, can really make the difference.

6. Offer a quality Customer Care to reduce the returns

Do you take care of your client when it contacts you to receive more information or to express a complaint about the purchase experience?
Trust a customer care service that, with a specific team, can represent the best the idea of the brand and enter in connection with the client, offering a brand experience strong and coherent, ready to adjust even for particular cases. Show availability and a continuous interest through the experience of your user.

7. Learn to examine the returns of your online shop

When your clients asks for returns, are you trying to comprehend the causes and the future consequences?
Do you own some tools that let you do it deeply?
The returns analysis involves the collection of all datas related to the return of a product in order to realize showing statistics.
Knowing the number of the total returns, their monetary value, the reasons and the percentage of the returns for each courier is central in order to improve the service, implement the ecommerce strategies and reduce the losses in economic terms. 

As we saw, there are different reasons why there are returns (and they are very frequent!).
We have also understood that, if there are no methods to eliminate them, there are strategies to reduce them and handle them in your favour.
The returns are one of the different critical issues that can interest an ecommerce, but still their optimization offers within a brand, a chance to increase the overall situation. Creating a strategic solution for the dynamic of products returns in your own online shop, means take a challenge, analyze your own business and give yourself an opportunity to constantly implement the service, strengthening the sales and the relationship with your client.

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