8 Proven Ways To Reduce Product Returns

8 Proven Ways To Reduce Product Returns

product returns

Product returns are inevitable for every business selling tangible products. Returns impact as much as 60% of retailers. There are numerous reasons why a customer might return a product. The usual culprits include product damages, shipping the wrong item, and not meeting customer expectations. While there is no silver bullet to eliminate product returns, the good news is that most of the issues that cause customers to return items are preventable.


In this article, we’ll explore some proven ways to lower the number of returns.


How to Reduce Product Return Rates

Improve Quality Control and Picking Accuracy

Given that the most common reason behind product returns is shipping the wrong item, it would make perfect sense to start with quality control. If you are a small retailer or eCommerce business, it is relatively easy to package, ship, and verify every order manually. However, as your business grows, you will need to automate these processes to reduce manual errors and stay efficient. An inventory management software can help you minimize product returns by increasing picking accuracy and simplifying quality checks.


Improve Product Representation

The “product not as described” issue is a recurring challenge for eCommerce businesses. The flip side of selling products online is that your customers are entirely dependent on pictures, product descriptions, and specifications to make a buying decision. Therefore, it is critical to represent your products accurately to set the customer expectations right. Customers are less likely to return items if they are clear on what to expect when purchasing an item. Here are some best practices to improve the quality of your product listing.

  • Use high-quality photos taken from multiple angles that clearly show the key features and characteristics of the product.
  • Use clear and accurate product descriptions that contain all the relevant information a customer might need to know.
  • Display helpful tools and information such as sizing charts, product options, and accessories.


Take Advantage of Customer Reviews

One of the most effective ways to reduce product returns is by encouraging customers to leave reviews on products they’ve purchased. A feedback and reviews system can go a long way in building credibility and help customers make better purchasing decisions.  


Publish FAQs

Let’s face it. No one likes or even has the time to read long product descriptions and datasheets. Publishing a comprehensive product FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) on your product pages can provide customers quick access to vital information and increase conversions.


Establish a Returns Policy

Unless you have an all sales are final policy, it is impossible for your business to eliminate returns. Crafting a comprehensive return policy that works for you and the customer is an essential step in reducing returns. Your return policy must clearly state the time limit to initiate a return, acceptable reasons, refund policy, and legal disclaimers. The best places to detail your return policy are on the checkout page, order confirmation emails, and your website footer. 


Improve packaging

It is common for businesses to cut corners and save money on packaging. However, this decision often backfires in the form of customers receiving damaged products and returning them. Your product packaging must be able to withstand even the most punishing shipping journies. Choosing sturdier boxes and better packaging supplies will help in significantly reducing the chances of customers receiving damaged products. The reduction in product returns will itself pay for the additional packaging expenses several times over. 


Keep customers informed

A leading cause of product returns is late shipments. Imagine that a customer orders an item with the expectation of receiving it within a week. If your delivery lead time for the product is two weeks, there is a pretty good chance that the customer will no longer need the product by the time it arrives. Displaying delivery estimates on your website is a great way to enhance your customer experience and reduce returns.


Be Proactive

The best way to lower your return rate is by handling potential returns even before the customer initiates the process. Return rates are usually higher if the product requires assembly or set up before the customer can use it. In some cases, returns occur because the customer assumes a problem with the product if they do not understand how to operate it. Offering customers real-time support via live chat or phone is a great way to reduce return rates for such scenarios. You’ll be amazed by the number of returns you can avoid by letting your customer support team attempt to resolve issues before the customer initiates the return process.


Final Thoughts

Before you implement any of the steps we’ve discussed above, it is critical to take the time to analyze and understand why customers are returning products. Reducing product return rates helps you create a better customer experience and saves your business a ton of money.

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