Product returns often add up to be an unexpected and hefty expense for e-commerce businesses. Returns are expected when a customer is unable to try a product on or test it out in person but there are several ways to reduce returns for your e-commerce site. I’ve devised a list of 10 ways that e-merchants can save money, increase customer satisfaction and build trust in customers leading to lifelong customer loyalty.
Let’s review what you could do for your online store to make sure customers are satisfied with their orders.
1. Optimize Product Descriptions
First and foremost, avoid using manufacturer written product descriptions. You should describe the item so well that your customers can practically feel it through the screen. Be clear about the fit, the size, the material, etc. If you have a model wearing your products make sure to share his/her height, weight and other dimensions so that customers can understand how the product will fit them. Learn more about writing product descriptions from my blog post: How to Write Product Descriptions that Increase Sales and Boost SEO.
2. Improve Product Photos
The visual display of your product speaks volumes but you don’t want to mislead your customers. Make sure that your photos aren’t overly edited or inaccurately represent your product. Offer customers the ability to zoom into pictures, show a 360º image, etc. Take a quick read at one of my merchant favorite blog posts Improve Product Photos for your Online Store: The 5 Mistakes You Don’t Want to Commit.
3. Use Product Reviews
Customer reviews are extremely valuable for anyone who purchases online. It gives an honest opinion of a product and customers may give answers to questions that you didn’t. Make sure to make customer reviews very visible on your site and remember that you can manage reviews, so the upside outweighs the downside. Read more on Why Every Online Merchant Should Use Product Reviews.
4. Offer Accessible Customer Service
Your customers should be able to get in touch with you immediately during their check out process. E-merchants should offer a form of contact whether it be a text chat, phone number or video call. This will allow customers to ask questions before they make the decision to purchase. PrestaShop users are in luck with tons of addons dedicated to instantaneous customer service communication.
5. FAQ's and Customer Inquiries
It’s important to review frequently asked questions and customer inquiries to see if there is a common question about specific products. Review these customer questions and make sure to include your answers in your product descriptions to avoid returns and reduce the amount of questions a customer may have about a product.
6. Deliver on Time with Tracking
Customer satisfaction plays a major role in the reason for product returns. By delivering customer orders on time with tracking capabilities, you’ll reduce disappointment not related to the product received. If a customer has to wait too long to receive their order they’ll ask, “I waited all this time for this?” Check out Shipping & Delivery Modules in PrestaShop's Official Marketplace.
7. Check Orders Before Delivery
This is something that a lot of customers tend to miss. By checking your customers orders for damages and accuracy before delivery, you’ll decrease any returns due to internal mistakes. It’s a simple concept but you’d be surprised how many merchants ship purchases without doing a final check.
8. Packaging Makes a Difference
If you’re getting a lot of returns due to damaged products or unsatisfied customers, it may be a good time to review your delivery packaging. Are dresses arriving wrinkled? Is glassware arriving chipped? Reevaluate your packaging to see if there is anything you can do to make the order received more attractive. Packaging speaks volumes about a company and you should show customers that you spent time carefully packing their item with a little bit of TLC.
9. Check-out Funnel
This could be a good time to reassess your check-out funnel. Do your customers have a chance to review the order before checking out? Analyze your returned products and see if the customer used express check out. There are a lot of benefits to a quick one page check out but we often forget that multi-page checkout lets customers ensure that they are ordering the right product. If express checkout is hurting your business, you might want to make some changes in your check-out funnel.
10. Understand Returns
Online merchants should develop a system for returned products. If a product is being constantly returned it may be a good time to revamp the product’s description or photos to accurately portray the item. If returns continue, remove it from your inventory. Prevent future returns for any product by taking the time to find out why customers didn’t like it or why they made the mistake of ordering the wrong size, color, material, etc.
Make sure to review these simple ways to decrease returns for your e-commerce site and keep your profits where they belong – in your pocket! Review the different blog posts I shared to go deeper into different ways to improve your sales and reduce returns.