eCommerce return is a standard process, nothing out of the ordinary. Almost everyone, for some reason, returned goods to the store; the reasons for return can be completely different, and the requirement to return the goods may not always be legitimate. That is why you need to know how to create a beneficial, simple and pleasant return policy for your business and your customers in your eCommerce business. Although returns are an inevitable part of any business, it doesn’t mean that returns can be left to chance. We will tell you about the most frequent returns, share the eCommerce return statistics, share solutions on how to reduce the number of returns, and give examples of companies with the most customer-oriented return policy.
To get started, we have prepared some statistics that will help you answer some questions right away, and some of the data will surprise you very much.
- 18.1% of online purchases returned
- 19% of consumers order several variants of the same product at once (different colours, sizes) to choose the most suitable one, and the rest return.
- 22% of the return because the product does not match the one declared on the Internet (it looks different)
- 30% of customers intentionally buy a product knowing they will return it
- 49% of eCommerce businesses offer free return shipping to customers
- 58% don’t want to answer questions about why they are returning products
- 60% of buyers read the return policy before buying
- 80.2% of items are returned to the store because they are broken or damaged
- 92% of customers said they would stay customers even after a return if their return experience were easy
eCommerce return process: a process of returning goods from the customer to the enterprise or exchanging goods by the enterprise for the client.
The Return Process for eCommerce Products Includes Five Steps:
- The customer receives the item and decides to make a return and/or refund (this can happen for any reason, whether it’s a change of mind or not being happy with the product)
- The company decides whether the demand for a refund meets the company’s policy
- The decision of the company on how the return will be made by your company (courier) / logistics partners, or the client himself will send it by mail to your warehouse.
- The goods are returned to your warehouse
- Returned item is in stock and ready for resale
The return process always requires a lot of effort, including the cost of many resources. Thus, the hidden costs in the return process in eCommerce businesses are usually high.
There are many reasons why a buyer may refuse a product. We have highlighted the most popular.
A buyer in their emotional state can buy a product based on your excellent marketing strategy. After a while, the client realizes what he did and cools down to purchase. And most importantly, at this moment, a person realizes how much money he has spent, and it is then that the processing of returns begins. In this case, the solution may be to provide different payment methods such as installments, buy now, pay last and others.
The client can find the same or similar product from another seller anytime. The solution to this problem can be to give your product uniqueness, add a gift or make a bonus.
Ease of Order Cancellation
When a buyer sees a cancel order button in their account, they will use this opportunity impulsively to make purchases knowing they can refuse it at any moment.
The Order Confirmation Is Not Fast Enough
If you have chosen the approach of confirming orders by phone number, you need to understand that without confirming the order immediately, the client may already cool down to purchase by the time of the call. The way out is to respond to orders promptly.
There are also many reasons for returning goods, but the main one is the gap between expectation and reality. Responsibility for these moments may lie with both the seller and the client.
- The item arrived defective or damaged upon delivery
- Wrong size
- Product inconsistency with the images in the website
- The buyer does not like the purchase.
- Force Majeure
We have listed far from the entire list of reasons that affect the client’s decision to return their goods. We would like to help you resolve your cancellation issues and help you make the eCommerce return process more enjoyable for both you and your customers.
We have prepared some tips to reduce the number of returns and increase customer satisfaction.
Make your eCommerce return policy accessible, understandable, and easy to find on your website.
We advise you to be open and transparent. The best option would be to create a separate page, immediately answer all customers’ questions, clearly state all the return policies and tell everything you offer, and consider the possibility of free return shipping.
- Return Instructions (it’s a good idea to illustrate the return process)
- How much time does the company give the customer to make a return?
- How exactly will the client be able to receive a refund, and for how long
- Who will pay for the return shipping cost?
- Are your return labels and slips included?
- Do you require checks, receipts or transaction confirmations?
- What condition must the item be in to be returned?
- How quickly will the return take place?
By making the wrong eCommerce return policy, you can lose a lot of customers because 69% of customers will not even make a purchase, and 33% of customers will change their mind about purchasing if they cannot easily find the exchange and return page.
Focus On Improving the Product Image
We think it is the most straightforward recommendation, but many people neglect it. Things often look different on the Internet and in life, which stimulates an increase in the number of returns. By providing a variety of images on the site from different angles and in good quality, the likelihood of a large number of returns is clearly reduced, but the conversions will increase.
Relevant Describing of Products
Also, an essential factor in the return may be that the product does not match the description on the website. It is always frustrating to receive something that is not what you expected and has been waiting for a long time. According to the structure, the description may consist of a headline that will hook your audience, a product description (its unique properties and how it can help), share the characteristics and function of the product, share product reviews and what exactly your customers value in your products.
Use VR/3D/AR on Your Website
VR/3D/AR is one of the easiest ways to help customers interact with the product before buying. Using these technologies, you can show customers how certain products will look on them and how they will fit with other products, and you can also compare sizes.
Add Dynamic Sizing Tables to Your Site
Adding to the site different variations of tables with a detailed description of the sizes will also help avoid many returns. This will be especially useful in shoe and clothing stores.
Offer Alternative Products During the Return Process
The customer may remain interested by offering a customer to exchange their product for a product of a different size or colour or similar style. Such a solution will help not to lose the client and the order.
Allowing Customers to Leave Detailed Product Reviews
Such reviews will also help the client choose the right size, understand how the product corresponds to the declared one, and discover what people who have already bought the product think.
Take the Time and Effort to Pack
Choose packaging that will protect your product from any damage during shipping. Also, ensure that this packaging is suitable for the return transport of the order so that when you return the product, it will not be damaged. Adding bonuses to the box (mini gifts, coupons, special scams) is also a good idea. At least this will help to please the client even if they have to make a return or push the client to make another order.
Ask Why Customers Return Products
While 58% are reluctant to share what they didn’t like and why they want to return a product, some are happy to answer all questions and help you improve your products or shipping methods, which will help you reduce returns in the future.
As you can see, there are many methods and strategies for minimizing the number of returns and return costs. Your competitors will have a considerable impact. When choosing a store, your potential customers can compare the eCommerce return policy and choose a competitor only because their return policy was better.
Using our advice, you can protect yourself as much as possible from losing customers and damaging your business or brand image. Don’t forget that 60% will read your terms of sale and return before placing an order online. To further understand this topic, we have found 4 examples of best ecommerce return policies for you.
Nordstrom Inc. — a network of luxury department stores of fashionable clothes, shoes and accessories for men, women and children. Nordstrom does not have a specific return policy. Their policy has no specific time, clearance, or receipts. The store provides free return shipping and the ability to return goods to any place (sent by mail or returned to the store). The refund period is 5-7 days. Even if you don’t have a receipt, you can return items in exchange for a Nordstrom gift card if you can provide proof of identification. Nordstrom has specific terms and conditions for some products, but these restrictions are minor.
Bath and Body Works is a chain of shops selling soaps, lotions, perfumes and candles. Bath and Body Works is very concerned about customer satisfaction with their products, which is why they provide a return of goods within 90 days from the date of purchase, even if the product has already been used but did not satisfy the client. Even if the check is missing, it can still be returned. You can also return gifts at any time and for any reason.
American Eagle is an American chain of clothing and accessories stores. American Eagle offers unlimited returns and is free of charge as long as you have proof of purchase. You can return goods even if there is no tag; the only exceptions are swimwear and underwear. Items can be returned by mail or brought to the store.
IKEA is a Dutch manufacturer and trade group selling furniture and household goods. Ikea allows the return of new products within a year. It is also possible to return opened products within 180 days. For any return, you will need an order confirmation. We would like to show you examples of return policies that are as customer-focused as possible. However, it would be best if you chose the return policy that suits you financially and satisfies all requirements and requests of customers.