Updated : Apr 8, 2024
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Ecommerce Returns: 7 Best Practices for Your Online Store in 2024

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Drashti bhadesiya
Best Practices for Ecommerce Returns for Online Store

Ecommerce Returns: 7 Best Practices for Your Online Store in 2024

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The online shopping trend is a big win in retail industries. It’s successful, it’s huge. 

It seems like a happy family picture, but ecommerce returns have turned into a big problem, overcoming profits and threatening businesses. 

Product return from customers is always a nightmare for e-commerce retail business owners. 

What if 50% of products are returned and not purchased again? What if the ratio of returning products is more than purchased products? 

Daunting? Do not worry, we have prepared a guide on how to keep your business always profitable (at least we can try), to understand the thin line between the benefit for customers from product return to being a headache and unprofitable. 

We are now set with our goals of understanding the best practices and strategies of the customer return process. Let’s stand out from others in the market and dive in!

Reasons Why Customers Return Purchased Products?

When we researched and asked retailers, 80% of them said that the items they purchased were not the right product. Let’s also understand other reasons that increase the chances of returning the purchased product. 

1 The item does not fit according to the customer’s expectations

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The poor cat is sad now as she could not fit in 

Sometimes the product comes outside the expectations. Just like in this image. Products are returned mostly when it does not come as shown in the picture. Make sure that you showcase the product exactly like you are going to deliver. Make your customers happy and satisfied. Because we do not want the shipping process in vain. 

Did You Know!

If online shoppers have a bad return experience, about 80% are less likely to buy from that retailer again. Whether it’s a refund, exchange, or gift card, making returns easy is key to keeping your customers coming back!

2 Mismatched product description

Most of the customers buy products reading the description. Customers mostly trust retailers with descriptions. If the product does not match the description, customers tend to return the product and lose trust in your brand. 

One of the customers ordered a leather couch, but when it arrived it was made out of some synthetic material. Customers had to return the product as it did not match the description. It was a heavy product that was shipped and now had to return it and make the shipping process all over again. 

3 Poor quality product

When the image is extraordinary the product received is a big boo-boo. Customers will return the product and would never want to purchase it from your brand. 

A batch of fitness bands sold on eBay received numerous returns due to poor quality, prompting the seller to switch suppliers and improve quality checks.

Make sure that from description of a picture of the product matches the product you are going to deliver. 

4 Items arrived late 

Sometimes customers order on an urgent basis or for some special occasion. Surely they will check the estimated delivery date but what if the product arrived late and now a customer would never want that product?

Before Christmas, Best Buy had to refund and apologize to customers when their gifts didn’t arrive on time, despite promises. 

Make sure, whether it is urgent for customers or not, you deliver the product on time. 

5 Customers did not like the product

Sometimes customers don’t like the product, and it is not your fault if you have addressed all the things as promised. This is just one of the possibilities in an ecommerce business where customers tend not to like products. 

What is the Average Return Rate for E-commerce?

For e-commerce or any retail business, it is now part and parcel. Business owners need to accept it. The main business priority right now has been to decrease the churn rate and not to lose sales. 

According to the NRF, total returns account for $816 billion in lost sales for U.S. retailers. This revenue is larger than the U.S. federal government spent on education, training, and employment programs in 2022. 

Also, in NRF’s 2022 (past two years), there have been frauds registered, even when there is a receipt with customers. It has jumped 43% over a year.

Out of so many products in the market, when asked most of the products returned are in the category of clothing which is 26%, all kinds of bags category almost 19% and shoes and footwear almost 18%

7 Best Practises For ECommerce Returns [Pro-Tips attached]

Managing the ecommerce return can help in saving from big losses as well as making customers happier. We have written the best practices that you can implement in your retail business. 

1 Keeping the product description and picture clear:

It is important to accurately give a description and a real-time picture. It will help customers to gain trust, make your brand compatible, and yet it will increase customer satisfaction. 

Pro Tip 💡

  • Keep pictures with use-case. When needed also add videos of how the product looks.
  • Always use true-to-life photos and accurate descriptions.

2 Keep the return policy easy:

No matter how you as a business owner hate the product return process the ultimate goal for any business is to keep its customers happy. Make the product return process easier, and quicker so that they feel comfortable purchasing it from your brand. 

Pro-tip:

  • Make sure customers can easily start a return on your website. A few simple steps should be it.
  • Send a quick email to confirm their return request, with what they should expect next.
  • Update your customers with the status of their return until it’s all wrapped up.

3 Keep multiple refund options: 

Sometimes customers would not like to have a store credit but direct money to their account. Different customers will often have different demands on receiving the refund. So as a business owner, it is important to have the options for the refund source so that they keep on shopping with you. 

Pro-tips:

  • Keep multiple payment getaway options along with the store credit 
  • Try to offer them an exchange instead of only a return option 
  • Make sure that the refund is immediately reflected in the customer’s account 

4 Maintain transparency with your customers:

If customers have placed a refund, it is important to let them know the status of both return and refund. They should not feel anxious about the process and by this, they can gain enough trust in your brand. 

Pro-tips:

  • Start updating your customers through their mode of contact source
  • Make sure to provide the tracking process overview 
  • After the return product is picked, immediately update about the refund payment 

5 Give away the instant refunds: 

Quickly processing refunds when customers return items boosts their trust and satisfaction. This fast refund approach shows that you value their time and money, making them more likely to shop with you again and building loyalty.

Pro-tip:

  • Provide an instant refund to gain customers’ trust in your brand where they can make repeated purchases for your brand.

6 Keep the exchange options:

Offering exchanges instead of refunds keeps sales within your business and can lead to customer discovery of new products. This strategy maintains revenue and customer satisfaction by offering flexible solutions and allows for deeper engagement with customers’ preferences.

Pro Tip 💡

Make a little extra effort for your customers and suggest to them an alternative product instead of what they bought. Works like wonders. 

7 Quick Customer Support 

Exceptional customer support during returns can transform negative experiences into positive ones. With clear communication, quick responses, and a helpful attitude, a customer service team can alleviate return-related frustrations, making customers feel valued. This approach fosters loyalty and positive recommendations. 

Pro-tips:

  • Immediately connect with your customers through live chat
  • Keep the automated chatbot active and reliable for customers to raise common and repeated queries
  • Immediately take up their queries raised, work on how to take action, and solve immediately
  • Keep your customers in the loop about their queries raised

Ready To Elevate Your E-Commerce Business? 

Once you start implementing all these best practices there is no chance of unsatisfied customers, while also protecting the business’ profit margins. Apart from gaining maximum profits, retailers can win by providing the best customer experience. Being in the retail industry, you cannot help but keep an option of returning for customers, so the ultimate goal is to make it a seamless and hassle-free process where customers can trust your brand and make an exchange instead of a return. 

Apart from that make sure that your customer support services are on point. Be there for customers while they request the return and exchange process which can be easily managed by Desku.io.

Through real-time engagement, get your customer’s queries solved within minutes. Reinforce your brand’s value and commitment to customer service.

What happens to ecommerce returns?

E-commerce returns are typically processed by the seller or the online retailer. When a customer initiates a return, they follow the seller’s return policy, which may include requirements such as providing a reason for the return, returning the item within a specified time frame, and ensuring the item is in its original condition. Once the return is received, the seller may offer a refund, replacement, or store credit, depending on their policies. The returned products may be inspected for any damage or discrepancies before the appropriate resolution is provided to the customer.

How to manage returns in e-commerce?

You can manage returns in e-commerce by implementing a clear and customer-friendly return policy, providing easy-to-find return instructions on your website, offering multiple return options (such as mail-in returns or in-store returns), streamlining the return process for customers, promptly refunding or exchanging returned items, and using customer feedback from returns to improve your products and services.

What is the return policy for ecommerce?

The return policy for ecommerce varies depending on the specific online store. It is recommended to check the return policy section on the website of the ecommerce store you are interested in for details.

What is common return period for ecommerce?

The common return period for ecommerce varies but it is typically around 30 days.

Gaurav Nagani
Gaurav Nagani
As Founder & CEO of Desku.io, Gaurav has made a distinct mark in the customer support and ai bot field. His commitment to AI-enhanced solutions and his industry experience have been instrumental in modernizing customer service.

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