Shopping online is increasing in popularity and unfortunately, so is the number of returned items – estimated to be around 3 billion return packages per year within the EU alone. These returns are not only damaging to your ROI but also have a substantial environmental impact attached to them. From carbon emissions to rising landfill, the impact of these transactions is huge. 

When it comes to eCommerce, there will always be a place for change-of-mind returns. However, a new pattern in consumer behaviour shows that customers are systematically over-ordering and therefore adding to this problem. To find the right size or colour, customers order more items than they intend to keep and then return their least favourite items.

This return ‘culture’ is costly for the merchant. Businesses are under pressure to offer ‘free returns’ as standard, covering the full shipment cost of the return, in addition to its original delivery cost. There is also a lot of energy attached to returns as returned items need to be checked, processed and repacked before becoming available for resale.

Having consulted eCommerce store owners on how they can maximise ROI and increase efficiencies, AYKO understands that returns are a common pain point. To help tackle this, we’ve collated some of our top tips for minimising returns and maximising ROI.

Top tips for minimising returns

 

Rich-media content

Whether it’s a catwalk video or zoomable photography, quality content can present the finer details of your product and enables users to better visualise the product in real life.

Product reviews and UGC

User-generated content and reviews are a great source of trustworthy content that users can relate to and use to form an opinion before making a purchase. Integrations like Yotpo, TrustPilot and Feefo can be easily integrated to present this on your product pages in a style that is in line with your website.

 

Thorough product listings and information 

One of the most common reasons for returns is improper sizing. Be clear and accurate product spec and make your size guidelines easily accessible from the product page.

Live Chat

Remove the uncertainty by allowing users to ask their questions and seek further information about your products. Not only helping you to close the sale, but also increase customers’ confidence, particularly for businesses selling a service or high AOV products.

Fair and transparent return policies

To keep returns sustainable for themselves and the environment, ASOS announced their revised return policy which monitors shoppers activity more closely and blacklists those abusing the system. Promote transparency like ASOS by outlining what’s acceptable and what isn’t and prevent customers from returning used goods.

 

Package to prevent damage

It may seem like an obvious one, but appropriate packaging for your products goes a long way to preventing breakage and damage in transit. Ensure your box size provides a close fit for your product and select packaging materials that will absorb impact.

Promote accurate delivery times 

Always be realistic with the delivery times you promote and consider possible delays around busier periods such as Christmas and Black Friday. This accuracy will help customers determine whether the product will arrive in time and eliminate the need to return products which come later than expected. Also crucial for living products such as groceries and flowers where the quality can be affected.

Of course, there will always be returns, and this is a risk attached to online shopping. Browsing on a website is not the same as holding or looking at an item in-store or speaking to an advisor face-to-face. By following the above simple steps, you will undoubtedly be on your way to minimising returns, boosting your ROI and doing your bit for the environment! 

Are you interested in boosting your ROI and increasing efficiency? Chat to one of our eCommerce consultants today to discuss our consultancy and optimisation packages.

Author

Jessica Truscott

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