Retailers are vastly heading towards e-commerce business which is purchasing and selling services or products online. In the years of the pandemic when people were forced to keep social distance for safety reasons, customers to the physical stores lessened drastically. Here the major beneficiary industry was e-commerce. Those who enjoyed the ease of purchasing online still prefer this way of shopping.
Graph 1.1: According to the growth chart published by tribune magazine, e-commerce sales in Pakistan increased from 2019 to 2022 and will expand further in the coming years.
Where the e-commerce business is blooming worldwide some hitches need to be sorted wisely. One such is order returns. Online businesses should observe e-commerce returns and reasons stick to them. In 2020, as per the survey reports 2.05 billion customers are fond of online shopping, worldwide. The third part of this estimated population ends up returning products to the company. These returns are stressing out merchants as they have to struggle with the everyday impact on business operations.
Fig 1.1 represents the influence of order returns on business procedures.
Order returns are inevitable for any e-commerce business but can be averted through an effective plan to improve customers’ shopping experience.
Customers visiting brick-and-mortar stores have the opportunity to purchase products through physical examination. On the other hand, online stores provide all digital information in the form of written and visual data for product evaluation. For instance, a customer can purchase a best-fitted shirt from a physical store after trying various shirt sizes whereas purchase from online stores is made via a provided size scale. Therefore increase in e-commerce return rates is obvious in comparison to physical stores if the size is a misfit.
Graph 1.2: According to richpanel.com 8-10% of order returns are expected from brick-and-mortar stores while 20% to 30% are from e-commerce stores.
To reduce product returns it is essential to recognize the fine points behind the act.
Graph 1.3: As per the Statista report, the chief cause of order return is a faulted or damaged product. Whereas poor quality, unsatisfactory products, and delivery issues are a few other reasons.
Let’s have a look at the possible motives behind order returns.
Bracketing is a common behavior among many customers. They purchase various products from single or multiple stores for comparison to keep the best and return unwanted ones. For example, for the safe side customer orders multiple shoe sizes in the same design, and after trying and choosing the properly fitted one he or she returns extra pairs.
When it comes to clothing specifically, customers often mistakenly order the wrong size or color out of little knowledge about the product, or the description is not provided by merchants. This makes them return the product. Moreover, when the customer’s expectation is a bit higher than what he received, orders are reverted. Merchants have to prepare strategies for handling returned products from a customer of all sorts.
Customers heavily rely on the provided product descriptions, videos, and pictures to make an online purchase. When a product is not as described customers return it.
The delivered product may be reached after a long time when the product is no longer needed or it is broken for which the customer claims for return.
A thief may place an order via a stolen credit card and return the order to get back cash from merchants.
No matter what the reason is, order returns are unavoidable in any business. Merchants should develop a well-organized system to tackle such obstacles to optimize business operations.
Order returns are more expected in some e-commerce business industries than others such as the clothing industry. 88% of customers purchasing clothes from online stores claim a return. Therefore need to understand which category you lie in to find e-commerce return solutions.
Graph 1.4: The following statistical report from Statista shows the percentage of product return rate by category.
Reduce order returns through various solutions, major points are mentioned below for your comprehension.
An easy return policy gains customers the confidence to purchase fearlessly from your store. Feed them with enough knowledge regarding order returns so they are unworried that if any inconvenience occurs they can return the order effortlessly. Being generous with customers will gain their trust which maintains good customer relationships and reduce order returns to a certain extent. Well-reputed brands like IKEA are famous for their bountiful return policy.
Add a detailed description of the return policy and make it easily viewable to the customer as many of them don’t finish a purchase unless they read the return policy.
Graph 1.5: As per Statista’s report 86% of customers look for online stores with easy return procedures and 81% move towards other contenders after experiencing harsh return policies.
When the customer opens up the package after many days wait and the product is not up to their expectations, the vibe of distrust is a natural feeling. He regrets it and decides to send back the order. All this happens because lack of information provided in the product description.
Categories your products making subcategories and putting in detailed descriptions related to each product. This help eliminates distress and the customer will know what exactly they are ordering. Your description template should include the following points:
Get the old customers’ reviews in which they appreciated the product and highlight those points in your product description. A complete product description will assist to reduce product returns.
Photograph your product from multiple angles and in high quality because blurry photos don’t clear the vision of how the product looks in real. This aspect is mostly ignored by many brands which results in order return. Multiple images of a single product won’t leave any surprise for customers. After carefully inspecting the product through pictures they can make a purchase. You can also show the product use through images.
Most returns especially in the clothing category are because the customer doesn’t receive outfits in their exact size. To reduce order returns due to such reasons provide a size chart or table that is easy to comprehend. Find an automated solution by which customers can input their height, body type, weight and sizes information and the system provides an exact estimation of the size that fits best. You can enhance good customer experience this way and can reduce product returns.
Uploading customer reviews lets new customers know the authenticity of your online store. It’s a kind of social proof that amplifies your product’s positive aspects. Nike, the well-reputed brand we all are familiar with, uses customer reviews to inform new customers of possible shortcomings. They give their customers options to analyze their products concerning comfort, size, and durability. If a certain buyer got a small size, he or she can mention it in reviews so others won’t order the wrong one. Integrate your system with software providers to enhance the customer review-taking process.
Videos are an effective way to teach customers the way to use the product. It indicates the product functionality and size e.g. in the case of machines like drill machines, customers can see how it works through the product video. It’s the most effective and guaranteed way to reduce product returns.
Graph 1.6: Product videos drive traffic toward the site as seen in the statistical data provided by Statista. By the year 2021, approximately 83% of customers accessed product videos uploaded on the site in the US.
Give an attractive but equal worth offer to the customer in exchange for a returned order. Keep this return procedure quick so the customer doesn’t switch to another retailer for purchase. The quick and stress-free exchange process didn’t spare time for the customer to head towards another brand for similar products. In this way, merchants can mend the loss, reduce order returns and keep up good customer relations.
Keeping an eye over business whereabouts through one station can help put away obstacles that hinder workflow. Ginkgo serves as an omnichannel for many e-commerce businesses to integrate data from multiple systems and channels in which your business is engaged. This lets you ascertain e-commerce returns and reasons. With its management modules, Ginkgo brings efficiency to the order delivery process. Its logistics management system let the merchant track order status in real-time so they can provide an abrupt solution to an issue if arises.
After analyzing product specifications and delivery location, Ginkgo’s automated system split orders into child orders picking courier service nearer to the customer’s location. It suggests the most appropriate courier service options for assigning delivery tasks. Fast deliveries gather customers’ appreciation, satisfaction, and confidence which helps reduce order returns.
Ginkgo retail facilitates merchants with the ease of downloading shipping labels and can print and paste them on the products to avoid order duplication or wrong dispatching. A major reason for an order return is the wrong parcel delivery. So Ginkgo provides order scanning at every stage to make sure that the order is dispatched to the right destination and that customers will get what they order. Furthermore, scanning order at every step assesses order quality and ensures the product will be delivered undamaged, to the customer. Ginkgo connects your business to the best logistics service providers for safe and fast deliveries.
The automated system keeps the customers updated with the order journey through robocalls, email, or SMS. With the informed delivery process, customers don’t get panic out of curiosity and it will enhance their satisfaction level with your band. Ginkgo provide an entire solution to your data management problems. It also helps monitor the order journey by recording data at every step and presenting it in the form of a statistical report that is easy to comprehend by merchants. Overall, it is the best solution to automate your daily business operations getting accurate and reliable data.
If you are struggling with order returns, go through this complete guide for ecommerce return solutions. Order returns are obvious in any business and instead of fearing, built a strong strategy to manage tasks smartly. Above all customer satisfaction is the priority of every business whether online or offline because they purchase if you serve well.