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7 Ways to Reduce Consumer Returns in eCommerce


Doing business in eCommerce is always challenging, and it gets even more complicated when you have to deal repeatedly with customer return issues.

According to Simicart, the return rates for the most common types of items bought online in 2021 ranged from 8% to 88%. 88% of people who bought clothes online used an online service to return an item.

So, you can be sure that your business is one of many facing this problem. But the big thing is that you have to figure out what to do now.

Because of customer returns, an online store’s sales can slowly decrease. Also, retailers’ profit margins can be cut when customers return.

Then what should be done? In this article, we’ve tried to summarize some of the reasons why Consumer Returns to eCommerce and what can be done about it. First, let’s look at what “customer return” means.

What Is the Meaning of a Customer Return?

The customer return is also known as the “consumer return.” It refers to a situation where a customer purchases something from a store and later wants to return it for any defects. In such a case, the purchaser may request a total refund or follow the business refund model to get his money back.

A widespread consumer return incident can happen both in brick-and-mortar and eCommerce stores. According to the National Retail Foundation, more than 20.8% of all online purchases will result in product returns after purchase in 2021.

Reasons Behind Product Returns

Products are often sent back to eCommerce businesses, and this happens for many reasons. As a businessman, you must find out the reasons behind it. Product returns with total funding can be a reason for a significant financial loss. Here are a few of the reasons for the consumer return.

  1. The product failed to meet customer expectations
  2. Product details did not match the given description
  3. The product could appear damaged
  4. The shipping time needed to be corrected
  5. The confused customer

Reason 1- The Product Failed to Meet Customer Expectations

Online businesses are booming, and customers are also engaging. For example, according to WP Engine, there are between 12 and 24 million online stores worldwide, and that number is growing rapidly. The numbers are enormous. But you will be surprised to know that in this large market, customer dissatisfaction number is high.

Many companies create and ship products daily to increase their lifetime value to customers. Surprisingly, only 3% of items are successful in satisfying customers. while 72% of the top products fail to meet customer expectations.

But what is the cause of this failure to meet customer expectations? Okay, there could be several reasons for this, such as misinterpreting your customer’s needs, the delivered product not matching the photo you provided, or your company misinterpreting the customer’s command.

If your business continuously faces consumer return issues, try to find the exact reason and solve them. For example, if you use Shopify to run an eCommerce business, you can reduce these problems by using third-party apps. You can get specific business-oriented, versatile applications for various issues on Shopify.

Reason 2- Product Details Did Not Match The Given Description

As the eCommerce business sector is vast, expecting professionalism from every business is like daydreaming. Many companies are just starting and have yet to invest significantly. Even the number of dropshipping companies in eCommerce is high. For a drop shipper, proving the exact description of a product is tough.

Customers sometimes know a lot about the product and will explain why they want to buy it before they do. On the other hand, a few more customers need to be more knowledgeable about the product. They are the ones who become puzzled after getting the product in hand. For this type of customer, you can do an email listing to let them know about the info of their desired outcomes.

When starting an online business, remember to deal with different customers. Prepare yourself to face any type of challenge. Whether you are a drop shipper or a newbie, try to add accurate descriptions and product photos from different angles.

A proper product description and original photos may decrease the rate of consumer returns.

Reason 3- The Product Could Appear Damaged

Another reason for consumer returns is poor shipping service. The loss of revenue due to damaged goods is unpleasant but unavoidable. In a physical store, it is possible to avoid selling and buying a damaged item for both parties. 

However, in e-commerce, buyers cannot perform this quality check by touching the product before purchase. Moreover, shipping itself can be dangerous and lead to extra harm.

It is widespread for a glass product or a sensitive product to come up damaged when the customer opens the box, and it is ethical that the customer will want a refund.

To avoid these problems, try to choose a good shipping service company to deliver your product on time and with proper safety.

Reason 4- The Shipping Time Was Wrong

Shipping time is significant in the industry of eCommerce. To grab customers’ attention, delivering products on time is essential. You will never know when your customer is busy and when your customer is free.

If you’ve been in the eCommerce industry for a while, you’ve probably noticed that some customers mention the exact time of their availability and keep reminding you of the delivery time. In such a situation, if the deliveryman of the shipping agency goes to the wrong place at the wrong time for the delivery, it is evident that the customer will not take the products.

In such a case, the customer may want a refund, which is a significant loss for you. According to Invespcro, 79% of customers are very interested in free return shipping, implying that the majority of your customers expect free return shipping. So, wisely, try to match the given shipping time.

Reason 5- The Confused Customer

One of the most common reasons is that your customer needs to know what product she should order. He or she might still need to decide on the color or size but still place the order. Once the product arrives, he or she might change his or her mind and want to return it with a full refund. which is annoying, and he could do that because your return policy was so flexible, and you did not make any strict ones.

You can decrease the ratio with clear communication and a standard return policy.

How to decrease consumer return in eCommerce

  1. Analysis of the Reason for Product Returning
  2. Provide Correct Product Information
  3. Create an Effective Return Policy
  4. Use an application that allows customer involvement.
  5. Ensure quality customer service.
  6. Errors can be avoided by using automated processes.
  7. Work on modifying

Way 1- Analysis of the Reason for Product Returning

Hopefully, when you just stepped into the eCommerce world, you made up your mind to deal with all your business challenges. Consumer return is one of those challenges. If you only encounter consumer rights issues, try to identify the gaps. Work on them.

If needed, manage resources and plan appropriately. You don’t need to be the one who has shortcomings. It could be your customer or the shipping company you have chosen. So, instead of being panicked, plan smart and make progress.

Way 2- Provide Correct Product Information

At the beginning of the content, we discussed the importance of product descriptions. Because of the poor and unstructured online business model, some merchants care little about product descriptions. They give priority to the selling procedure only. But a wrong and incomplete product description creates miscommunication and misunderstanding, as discussed earlier.

Customers who cannot touch products online depend on written descriptions to make a purchasing decision. A good report will offer all relevant product facts, such as the materials used, specific care recommendations, and other reasons why the product is unique.

Customers these days like to do their research before committing to a purchase. According to Salsify, 87% of online shoppers are interested in seeing detailed product descriptions and want to know why they should buy the product.

Internet shopping has become increasingly popular after the COVID-19 pandemic. A good product description speaks for the brand by highlighting the advantages of each offer. Helping clients make educated purchases is another crucial reason product descriptions are essential.

Customers are more likely to fall in love with your product and company if you describe it interestingly and uniquely.

Way 3- Make a Wise Return Policy

Roughly 18% of retailers let customers return items for a different size or color, and the same percentage offers gift cards for future purchases. There are high customer expectations regardless of the sort of refund a store provides. Around 62% of buyers want to return an item within 30 days.

You need a strong return policy when your business is primarily an online store. Customers can choose from different types of return policies. Refund, exchange, warranty exchange, and store credit are all examples.

You can pick any of them based on how you run your business. If you think giving a refund will hurt your sales, you can refuse the exchange offer. You won’t lose money by doing it. You will be able to make your customer happy with a little effort. Also, an exchange offer is better than a refund, so a warranty exchange offer is a good choice.

Way 4- Use An Application That Allows Customer Involvement

Businesses requiring constant customer communication are hard to run in the Internet age. There are a lot of chances for misunderstandings in this kind of business. Are you getting it? Which company am I referring to?

If you need help, let me give you a scenario. Let’s say you have a product customization business on Shopify and offer your customers web-to-print products. Customers usually give you instructions about the design they want through email or other communication.

During this process, there could be miscommunication, and when you deliver their product, it might be better than they expected. And at the end, it will turn into a consumer return.

You can design your products using a third-party product personalization application in your Shopify store to solve this issue. By using this application, you can let your customer become a designer.

InkyBay-Product Personalizer has different features

Here you can see a configurator with several options and valuable features so that their dissatisfaction will decrease when your customer designs their product. There are thousands of applications available in Shopify to help you grow your business. Here this picture is taken from InkyBay-Product Personalizer. You can choose your preferred one.

Way 5-  Ensure Quality Customer Service

Poor customer service is another reason for consumer returns. When a customer faces difficulties while placing an order, he may seek help from your customer service. In such a case, if your customer service is subpar, the customer may place an order randomly and then, when he receives the incorrect product, try to return it and request a refund.

So make sure you have an active customer service team to help your customers.

Way 6- Use Automated Procedures to Avoid Errors

Sometimes human support is not enough. To increase the growth of your eCommerce business, using an automation process can be an alternative. An automated process can reduce the chances of consumer returns because your customer can get the answer to his queries in a minute, which minimizes the ratio of customer returns. Automation systems can be applied to a personal message or email to send bulk information automatically.

Way 7- Work on Modification

Perhaps you’ve already done everything possible to reduce the rate of consumer returns. But keep changing your policy on returns and your business strategy. Also, check out the plan policies of your competitors and how they handle customer return issues.

Bottom Line

Consumer returns are expected in eCommerce, but there are also good ways to stop them. In this article, we tried to cover some essential facts about consumer returns. so that if you run into a problem for the first time, it will be easy to solve.

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