Updated : Apr 20, 2024
15 Mins Read

Top 10 Tips for Reducing E-Commerce Returns

Reviewed By :

Drashti bhadesiya
A man and a woman standing on top of a bar chart, discussing how to reduce returns in e-commerce.

Top 10 Tips for Reducing E-Commerce Returns

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Order returns are one of the controversial processes that I know is followed in the e-commerce business. It is the only policy or feature that should be kept for the convince of the buyers but also make sure that buyers do not use that frequently.

How ironic is this?! 🤷🏼‍♀️

But, seriously how to reduce returns in e-commerce business?

So this is going to be fun to understand how you can reduce returns in E-Commerce Business and what practices you can follow!

Let me pour some facts that showcase the overall scenario; 

Talking about the time where online shopping was new for both buyers and sellers. In 2021, online buyers almost returned21% of their products to respected merchandise or the company because of inconvenience they might have faced.

Due to the high ratio in the return process, there was a loss of about $761 which is a crazy amount. Imagine you had a big profit which is a loss!

Of course, we are here to save your Ecommerce store and to provide some best solutions to make profit in profit. This blog will also help you to find out what reasons you should be looking to improve if you are not following it to reduce return rates.

Let’s reduce your product return process.

Key Takeaway :

To reduce returns in e-commerce, consider implementing the following tips:

1. Provide an exchange policy to offer alternative options to customers.

2. Use product videos to accurately showcase the products.

3. Utilize good quality media to present the products effectively.

4. Ensure accurate delivery time to manage customer expectations.

5. Focus on high-quality packaging to impress and retain customers.

6. Distinguish between return fraud and genuine returns.

7. Simplify the return process for customers and your business.

8. Extend the return period to give customers more time to decide.

9. Offer accurate sizing charts and provide size measurement tips.

10. Ask customers for feedback on returns to understand their concerns.

All in one ai chatbot and automation crm for ecommerce brands
Top 10 tips for reducing e-commerce returns -

What are Common Reasons Customers Return Their Orders?

A brand can never remove the return policies or eliminate the return items option from their brand because;

Almost 54% of the buyers have the fear what if this brand is not providing me return products option (that includes my mother too), and such buyers like my mother won’t even look further no matter how pleasing all product video and product description be.

So it is important to always keep an option of a refund or return a product but all you can look for is to reduce the return rate and look for sustainable solutions to solve that. 

Of course, there are wide but very common reasons for online shoppers who tend to click on the “return” option. Look if you can implement them that will help you reduce the product return rate. 

👉🏻Yes, size matters in Ecommerce Business

If the ordered product does not match the size or a buyer does not receive the right size, they are going to return it for sure. What are they going to do with the too-loose or too-tight product? (This belongs to apparel E-commerce stores)

👉🏻Time is Money  Everything

What is the meaning of ordering online if you do not deliver it on time ultimately customers lose interest in using the product and they tend to cancel or return it. Why do you do that? Why do you make your customers wait? Now this is the question of providing a better customer experience.

👉🏻Ooops, delivered the wrong product!

There are chances that a product will deliver the wrong product and it is important when it comes to the shipping process. The shipping process should be double-checked while dispatching. The product should be rightly dispatched to the right person.

👉🏻Nobody wants to receive a defective product

Buyers will never order from an online business if they deliver the wrong product. To prevent returns, at your dispatching product must be well-packed and damage-free. If this is the case then not only product but there are high chances of customers to return ever back to your brand. 

👉🏻Being what you are not

One of the ways to minimize returns is to always be real with the description that you are writing for a product. Of course, copywriting skills will help you to sell more but it should exactly match the product that you are selling with it.

There are chances that sugar coated words will arise the temptation of the purchase but ones they receive the order and if it did not match the description, buyers no longer will take time to click on “return” button and they will also loose trust in you.

We have gone through the reasons why customers return the product from their online purchases but as we have promised initially that we are going to provide some fantastic solutions that will help reduce returns, let’s get into that straight. Trust me follow them blindly!

10 Tips on How To Reduce Returns in E-commerce Follow Blindly [With Examples]

Return policies are essential, but surely they should not be used frequently and we have some of the best tricks which will help you to avoid loop returns from your customers. 

✔️ Turn on your exchange policy

✔️ Product videos are becoming attractive, make the perfect use of it

✔️ Good and rich quality media

✔️ Accurate delivery time

✔️ Do not compromise on packaging if you want your customers to remember you

✔️ Know the difference between fraud and generous return

✔️  Processing a return should be easier 

✔️ Increase the span of return days

✔️ Provide the accurate sizing chart

✔️ Ask customers what went wrong.

All in one ai chatbot and automation crm for ecommerce brands
Top 10 tips for reducing e-commerce returns -

1. Turn on your exchange policy

One of the ecommerce returns best practices is to always provide an alternative solution in the return portal to customers. In terms of alternate products or a size exchange option to customers will help and customers will be less likely to return completely but order an alternative option.

Exchange policy helps customers to look for the products they are really looking for, instead of them finding on their own, your suggestions will help in making fewer returns. 

There are surely different ways to provide alternate options to customers and what to carry on with always depends on the individual company. Some of the ecommerce brands provide direct credits to their source, some suggest the exact same looking and purpose product from the online stores and much more.

This process must be carried with a meaningful and decent message that will help your buyers to understand that you are trying to help rather than just selling. 

Example: Zalando’s Return Policy

Return and exchange
Return and exchange

Zalando provides free delivery as well as returns which makes it easier for customers to process returns. The shipping process takes a maximum of about 48 hours and they make sure that their customers purchase products from them again and again. Of course, they are making the return process easier but always encouraging to increase sales and reduce a lot of returns. 

Read More:How to Automate Ecommerce Store in 2024

2. Product videos are becoming attractive, make the perfect use of it

One of the reasons why the amount of returns is maximum is because of the fake or mismatched descriptions uploaded to tempt customers and buyers. Most ecommerce sites fail to understand that this is not a sustainable solution but infact increases the number of returns and decrease trust. It is important to showcase the real product with a real description.

The description should match the actual product. Reduce customer returns by avoiding the miscommunication between buyers and your brand. 

Highlight the key features what does product contains and why it is special. State down the benefits of the product to increase eCommerce sales. This will allow customers to solve their problems. The detailed explanation will help customers to keep coming to your product. Product videos help customers to look in detail at how the product is looking and how you can use it. A customer will quickly decide whether they want to purchase it or not. 

Also read: How to Choose Best OMS Software for eCommerce

Example: Product Description + Product Videos

👉🏻Product Description:

How to reduce the returns in ecommerce
Well-drafted product description

👉🏻Product Video Example:

3. Good and rich quality media

The picture-perfect products are a must here, even more perfect than your own pictures on Instagram.

The presentation works like a cherry on cake and trust me it helps like 80% of buyers to purchase if the product is pleasing and pictures are kept on point.

It might happen that buyers won’t read the product description but the product-rich contextual image will help them to buy immediately.

If you provide the right picture to customers, there are fewer chances to make a return. If you are exploring how to reduce returns,  you’re in the right section of the good and rich quality media. Show multiple pictures, and contextual pictures to make a pleasing purchase process. 

The product is returned if the picture and the original product do not match at all. Show the use case of the product by showing it or placing it where it should be used. The online business works on the rich picture but if you are not even providing that then there is no use in selling. 

Example: Moonlight Lamp Images

Product image showcase
Accurate product image

This is a beautiful moon lamp. I have this product, and I purchased this after seeing the images of how it helps in changing colour by just touching it it’s chargeable. No other fuss about maintenance and it is also affordable. Such images with in-depth images and rich media will reduce the high return rate and customers will be seen more satisfied. 

4. Accurate delivery time

Once customers place an order, they are more keen on knowing when the product will arrive. Online buyers are always excited to receive their products. If we wish we would want a product on the same day. We wish! A customer will always plan to purchase when you showcase the right delivery date.

There is no problem if the product is delivered on time, but surely a big problem if the product is delayed. It becomes a real turn-off for buyers. You never the urgency and the need for a product that buyers have ordered, and if it is not urgent, “fast” delivery is a big factor that plays a role in dealing with returns in every ecommerce business. 

A buyer should know about the estimated delivery while they are placing an order. Once the order is placed, it is important to update them on where the order has reached and what is the shipping process. It will help to calm our anxiety down, especially impatient shoppers like me. 

Example: Estimated Delivery Time

Return policy
Delivery options and exchange details together

Read More:Top 11 Ecommerce Customer Service Best Practices to Implement

All in one ai chatbot and automation crm for ecommerce brands
Top 10 tips for reducing e-commerce returns -

5. Do not compromise on packaging if you want your customers to remember you

Talking about me, I judge books product by their covers and I get super happy when I receive beautiful packaging or at least decent packing that has kept my product safe and secure. The packaging helps to not only impress the buyers but also helps in keeping the parcel safe.

Imagine the product received by buyers is damaged, I am sure they are not going to keep it, they are surely going to place a return and you cannot even deny that, you will have to accept it.

Good packaging is something that will also elevate the product’s branding. I have seen so many influencers’ videos when they receive any PR packaging they almost mention “Look at the packaging, it is so cute”, and ecommerce or small business owners love to hear such things. 

Example: iPhone Packaging

Packaging
Ideal packaging example

6. Know the difference between fraud and generous return

I am not saying to doubt customers who order a product and then make frequent return or refund requests. Managing returns can be an overwhelming job but most of the customers who make the return process are genuine ones. Most ecommerce brands approve the return or exchange immediately but it is still highly important that the use of the product is done in the right way and that buyers are not just abusing your return policy.

Return fraud or abuse represents 6.5% of total returns, worth almost $23 billion annually.

Initially, it is important to know the genuine reason that leads to returning the product be you can help them. The customers who stay dishonest with you regarding the return process and policy, are known to be playing with your brand and ultimately damaging your product (there are chances). So you must stay aware of them. 

Example:

Some of the return policies are hidden and not showcased to serial returners. They are a massive loss to the companies. The hidden return policy will help to stay away from the return policy abusers.

7. Processing a return should be easier

Yes, the return process should indeed be easier for the buyers to understand and make the return. On the other side return management should also be easier for your business to manage seamlessly. To be honest, the return process should be easier than placing the order so that buyers can easily make an order knowing that if there is any problem, it can be returned.

Let customers know about the return status as well as how are they going to receive the credit. If customers have any queries related to anything, you must solve their queries by having real-time conversations through live chat software. A conversation is a key to business success and helps to solve queries quickly.

Example:

Make the return policies easier to understand by buyers. Make it short and crisp, it will help users to understand and implement easily. There should be mentioned days, status, and credit amount details in one. The process should be quick,

8. Increase the span of return days

Aggressive shoppers like me have unusual decision power whether we want to keep the product or not. Do you know what works like magic for customers and buyers like us? If the ecommerce brand keeps the longer run and return days. Difficult to understand?

Let me explain. But before that👇🏻

Moreover, by increasing the return span of 30 days, it almost helps in increasing the conversion rate by 57%

How it will work for me? If there is a longer span of returning any product, I can calmly give it a thought and be not aggressive about it to just return it because of the shorter span. It might happen that I would keep that product as I have given a thought to it. If you understand this simple logic, you can save your Ecommerce store from lots of returns happening.

Customer retention is hard and as an E-commerce business owner, you do not want to miss the chance of bringing more customers and managing the existing customers. With some of the best tactics, you can manage everything seamlessly.

Example:

Talking about expensive luxury purchases we always gather our guts and things before making a purchase. Now, the scenario is that it has to look good on us no matter what because we have spent so much! Once the packaging arrives, we try it. Look in the mirror and see if this piece that I have worn is worth the price or not!

If I have a longer return span I would think about it. Similarly, Aldo is providing 15 days of returning product and I think it is much more than enough to decide whether to keep it or not, and who does not fall in love within 15 days (with a product of course). Sorry, I won’t return it!

All in one ai chatbot and automation crm for ecommerce brands
Top 10 tips for reducing e-commerce returns -

9. Provide the accurate sizing chart

Sometimes product seems to be okay but when a buyer receives the product, it does not fit well. This happens due to an inaccurate sizing chart. The size chart matters a lot when it comes to clothing brands. If your store is available globally, it is important to size charts from around the world are important to put it. The chances of returning the product will reduce automatically.

Almost 30% of the products are returned due to size issues and this leads to a massive loss in the business

Provide the tips along with the size chart, that tells how to measure and know your size. If customers are still confused, let them connect to you through Live Chat and have a real-time conversation. The benefit of live chat software is that it helps to control and answer paranoid customers immediately. This will be helpful for shoppers who do not know their accurate size.

Example:

Size and fit chart
Accurate size chart

To know the accurate size before making a purchase is an important part and plays a major role in not returning the product. Make sure that you provide the universal size that works best globally.

10. Ask customers what went wrong.

Knowing about customers’ views on why they want to make a return will give an idea about what problem the are facing with the product that has maximum return request. All the points that are mentioned above will surely make lesser return requests, but having a customer’s point of view is much more important to know.

Almost, any common shoppers or buyers review the return policy and the ratio is 67% and out of 100, almost 85% of buyers feel positive about the free shipping and return policy.

Ask them what went wrong, you might help them and make an exchange or solve the problem either way. Make sure to make the process shorter, do not irritate your buyers that they just leave and go away and never even make any orders further in the future.

Example:

Return policy questions
Ask customers what went wrong.

This is the template or example that you can use for your store to determine what kind of questions you should ask your customers while they make a return process. Make it brief, avoid making them write long paras, and make sure that they just have to tick off the options or can even skip it. The mentioned image is just an example!

Interesting Read,

9 Best Ecommerce Customer Service Software to Assist you in 2024

Top 12 Game-Changing AI Tools for Ecommerce Success in 2024

Reduce Returns in Ecommerce under one roof in 2024

Product return is a process. Every Ecommerce business should have a return policy to maintain customer loyalty. Yes, it is a massive loss and expense to hold it but the above 10 pointers mentioned will surely help in making lesser returns.

For streamlining the customer queries all in one, Desku can help in managing through omnichannel shared inbox, providing self-service options like a knowledge base and proactive real-time chats like live chat and chatbot. Centralising the customer queries will help to manage everything accurately. Learn more about how Desku can help e-commerce store owners of Shopify and WooCommerce with the return and exchange policy.

It is time to keep the return policy but always work to reduce the return requests in the E-Commerce Business.

All in one ai chatbot and automation crm for ecommerce brands
Top 10 tips for reducing e-commerce returns -

Frequently Asked Questions

1) How to reduce product returns?
Providing customers with a low down on your products is a great way to reduce product returns.

2) Should you accept ecommerce returns?
Don’t accept returned packages of clothing without the company tag or seal. In such cases that item becomes non-deliverable to the customers.

3) How long do ecommerce returns last?
Customers are provided a certain period to send back their items. Stores’ return time limits last about 30 to 60 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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