It’s exciting when a purchase is made on your eCommerce store. But some of those purchases will be ultimately returned because of various return reasons. According to reports, nearly 30% of online purchases end up being returned as compared to 8% in brick-and-mortar stores. Why is the percentage of returns higher for online stores? The reason is simple – customers purchasing items online lack physical contact with the items during check out resulting in a gap between the expectation and reality.  

Dealing with eCommerce returns can be frustrating, but not allowing returns for your store is not the answer. Fortunately, there are multiple ways on how to reduce returns and enhance customer experience. And one of the major ways is to identify the key return reasons.  

In this article, we will take you through the top 5 most common return reasons and how you can handle them to reduce the return rate for your brand- 

Product Description not Matching Expectation 

This is one of the most common return reasons eCommerce store owners often struggle with. For instance, your store deals with apparel, and the product listing says ‘100% Cotton Black Trousers for Men.’ The customer who is looking to purchase such an item would go by your product description and make a purchase. Unfortunately, he receives a trouser of blended fabric instead of a ‘100% cotton. The next step for the customer to take is RETURN. While this was one type of an example, several items are returned because the product photos do not match reality.  

According to a report by salecycle.com, nearly 64% of customers returned an item in 2020 because the item did not match the description on site. This number clearly indicates the importance of providing the right information and product images so that buyers are making informed purchase decisions.  

How to Solve it? 

To reduce the number of returns caused due to a mismatch of expectations, make sure you provide accurate information about your product to customers. Click photographs of the item from all angles, show textures, and describe materials instead of just naming them. You can also include videos of your items in product descriptions which will be a boon for your business. Whatever you sell, a video will tell much more about the item.  

EcoReturns by Saara is a one-of-a-kind returns management solution that performs AI-powered product tagging, ensures the product descriptions match the real product to reduce returns for your business and increase customer loyalty.  

Incorrect Size/Fitment Issue 

 

According to a report, merchandise worth $62.4 billion was returned in the US last year due to the ‘wrong size’ issue. This clearly shows how an incorrect-sized item can impact your eCommerce business. Many times, the product size mentioned in the description doesn’t match the actual size of the item. This is what causes the customer to return the product. Here’s how you can solve the issue- 

 

How to Solve it? 

Categorizing your goods into small, medium, and large is not enough. Think of a detailed description of each size. It’s best to display the exact dimensions of your products. In case you sell apparel that you don’t make yourself, make sure your size chart works for different items, and if not, add a separate size chart for each of them. 

If your size chart is not comprehensive enough, customers can simply leave the store without a purchase, or, on the contrary, order several sizes to return those that didn’t fit. 

Sometimes it’s not your size chart that is to blame. Customers may be wrong about what size they need. That often happens with shoes. The solution to that is to ask customers to associate themselves not with an impersonal size chart, but with some real people. 

 

Item Damaged or Broken 

 

Report suggests nearly 80% of customers cited their return reason as ‘item damaged’ in the US in 2020. It’s an absolute turn-off for customers when they receive a damaged item on their doorstep which leaves them with no other option but to return. Most often an item is damaged in handling during transit. Let us take a look at how you can solve the issue- 

How to Solve it?
 

In order to reduce the number of instances where your customer returned the item because it was damaged, take utmost care of the packaging. Check the background of your delivery partner; analyze how many returns were being made due to a ‘damaged item’ through that delivery partner.  

If you sell fragile products, it’s not only necessary to pack them carefully but also to provide an easy way for a customer to pack them back so that the product isn’t broken on its way back. Consider adding guidelines on how to wrap your product for returns and make this a condition for accepting the return. 

 

Holiday Season
 

With the holiday season, comes the intense urge to shop. Unfortunately, many of the purchases end up being returned because most of them were impulsive shopping due to huge discounts offered by online stores. Moreover, it is a gifting season where you get gifts that you don’t need.  Huge discounts offered by online businesses encourage shoppers to shop more during the holiday season. If you take part in holiday sales, expect higher return rates than usual. United Parcel Service Inc. announced that returns jump up by 15% during holiday seasons. Some retailers state 50% return rates. 

While some define ‘Returns Day‘ as a variable date when returns reach their peak every year, we define Returns Day as January 2nd. January 2nd is the first day after the New Year Holiday, and the beginning of Returns Week. Within the first week of the New Year, shoppers and gift receivers tend to initiate their returns.
 

How to Solve this? 

 

After the holiday season ends, managing those returns can become your #1 task. Make sure your team is trained and your return policy is clear. Most retailers enact tighter return policies during the holiday season and integrate their returns day planning with Black Friday and Cyber Monday strategies. 

The bottom line: your ultimate goal is to make customers happy, even if they returned their order. Not only will they come to buy again, but they will also spread the word about your services and attract more customers.