Product returns are one of the major challenges faced by E-commerce players. Nowadays, approximately 30% of the products ordered online are returned by the customers.
Also, these product returns are influenced by various factors like delivery delays, damaged or defective products, etc. Here in this blog, I have listed down the most common situations for product returns as well as some useful tips to reduce the same.
Situation 1 – Purchase arrived too late or the customer does not need it anymore.
Delayed deliveries are the most common situation that makes the customers annoyed. In some cases, customers received the delivery package when they do not need it anymore. It not only affects the brand image but also breaks the customer’s loyalty. Various reasons like holidays, weather and traffic conditions, customs, wrong address, etc. are affecting the delivery timelines.
Even though it is unavoidable in certain cases, below are some of the tips to prevent delays.
- Always consider the possible delivery delays (E.g., Holidays) and provide accurate timelines for both regional and international customers.
- Always dispatch your orders before the holidays began.
- Plan for peak periods by offering your customers some discounts for advanced orders
- Get a logistics Service
- Be in touch with your logistics partners and stay updated about the weather conditions and port delays.
- Acquire Automated Logistics Software
Despite all the pre-planning, some delays may happen. And these shipping delays can create unpleasant customer experiences. Dissatisfied customers will not come purchase again in your store, and then they can even write poor reviews. To avoid it, speak with your customers whenever you find delays. Explain the situation to them and then provide a realistic estimate of arrival. This is one of the best ways because most of the customers just want to know the reason and the estimated time. Hence, be in touch with your customers for the whole process.
Situation 2 – Wrong size ordered
Another major reasons for product returns in the E-com business are improper sizing. Most of the customers do not understand your sizing instructions or they are not aware of their required size. To avoid this kind of situation, you can try to
- Provide clear measurements and size charts in a simple understandable language.
- Provide a “How to take measurement” guide with an appropriate illustration and videos
- Enable live chats and provide fit consultation to the customers.
- Design/ procure simple software that will guide people to know their measurements.
- Give “Try and Buy” Option to avoid returns
Situation 3 – Products Failing to Match Expectations/ Description on Website
This sudden shift to E-com not only affected the businesses but also the customers. Most of the customers may be first-time online shoppers. Earlier, customers used to visit the stores and they will touch, feel, and make a trial by using the products. But these options are not available on an E-com Service. Also, while shopping online, customers expect to receive a product that matches the imagery shown on the website. If your product fails to match the same, your product return rate will increase. To solve this, I am providing some tips below.
- Provide a detailed product description covering raw materials, colour, size, fit, etc.
- Provide High-resolution product visuals
- Provide different photos with multiple angles
- Provide a 360’ degree photo
- Allow customers to make the “Zoom In” option
- Use videos to bring your products to life.
- Provide a disclaimer if you have used any filters on your photos/videos.
- Enable live chat for real-time support
Situation 4 – Defective products
Customer satisfaction is closely related to product and service quality. If your product does not meet the functional requirement or it is defective, customers will likely return the product/service. But this kind of problem can be eliminated easily. Here I mentioned some of the tips which might help you.
- Before placing an order, ensure that your supplier has a quality management department.
- Provide a Quality manual to your supplier with all detailed specifications like tolerance rates, major, minor defect classifications, onsite testing, and packaging requirements.
- Request a product sample before shipment to ensure your quality expectations.
- Monitor the quality through frequent checks. i.e., inspections at all stages (raw material inspection, in-process inspection, pre-shipment, and container loading inspection).
- Hire a third-party service provider and get an actual neutral finding of your order before shipment.
- The below-mentioned company is one of the accredited third-party companies who can support inspection, audits, and some other services in India, China, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Vietnam.
- To know more about them, do visit – https://www.rsjqa.com/
Situation 5 – Due to Fear of COVID
Since COVID is a contagious disease, people are afraid of collecting deliveries from the delivery partners and return those products. Especially at the start of COVID, most of the e-com players faced this situation. People placed the order before the rise of the pandemic, but due to the fear of transmission of COVID, customers have returned the products even before collecting them from the delivery person. To limit the returns due to the fear of COVID, try to implement the below tips.
- Provide health conditions of the delivery partner with the help of the delivery service.
- Inform your customers about the precautionary measures which you have taken while manufacturing the products.
- Avoid Cash on Delivery
- Ask the customer to start making digital payments
- Inform your customers that no-contact delivery will be offered.
Product returns are unavoidable in the E-commerce business. If you want to improve your customer satisfaction and retain your customers, make engagement with them during their product returns either through feedbacks or surveys. If the problem is from your end like delayed delivery, the wrong item dispatched, or defective products, provide your customers an alternate discount and offers in their next purchase as a mode of apology. This will help you to improve your brand image and indirectly it will help you to retain your customers.
The above topic is also published in the form of infographics. To read please go to https://qualpedia.com/tips-to-limit-higher-product-returns/