7 Ways to Limit Returns (Even with eCommerce)
Retail has a serious problem with eCommerce returns. At least 30% of all online purchases are returned, compare that to 8.89% of in-store purchases. Surprising? Not if you’re in retail. More retailers are running into a surge in returns in our unified commerce environment than ever before and fashion brands are feeling the effects the most.
Returned or exchanged products mean incremental supply chain costs and often products that can’t be resold at full price due to wear and tear or seasonality. As eCommerce continues to dominate sales, returns are becoming more (and more) of an issue.
The rising cost of returns is a growing challenge that retailers must face head-on because it isn’t going away anytime soon. But there’s some good news. There are ways you can prevent or at least limit your eCommerce returns.
Here are seven ways retailers can reduce online returns:
1. Get a clear picture.
With high quality photos, 360-degree angles and a fast photo zoom, your online shoppers can see exactly how products will look out-of-the-box when they arrive.
Is that eggplant or plum? Don’t make them guess. Photos with the right lighting mean shoppers know exactly what shade of sweater to expect before they buy.
And that’s not all. Make sure your product description gives your customers all the details on the fit of your product, (does it run small?); the stretch and feel of the fabric; the color and any hard-to-notice patterns or textures that might slip by while they’re swiping through to order.
2. Try it on.
Why not let customers try your product on online like eye wear retailer, Warby Parker? Their new iPhone app lets shoppers selfie in frames before ever adding them to their cart using Apple’s Face ID and AR tech. The app actually renders your frames or shades of choice in a live, 3D preview on your face using augmented reality.
3. Size it up.
If you aren’t ready for augmented reality, you can let shoppers see how the product looks on someone their size, like Rebecca Minkoff. The luxury retailer’s size-me-up option let’s shoppers select a height and dress size to see exactly how cross body bags or clutches will drape against their frame – even comparing the bag size to a laptop.
4. Tap into “real talk”.
Can customers leave reviews of products on your site? (Hint: your answer should be yes.) Let your shoppers hear from customers about their experience – good or bad it gives them a real idea of how the product will look and feel in-person.
More reviews usually means fewer returns. So, follow up product arrivals with an email asking for feedback.
You can also get social. Ask customers to tag your brand in group pics or selfies wearing their latest purchase for a chance to be featured from your brand’s official Instagram account.
5. Send a survey in return.
After each return, send customers a survey for their feedback, that’s right, more real talk. Candid feedback from shoppers can pinpoint exactly what’s causing a higher return rate for specific products to prevent future losses. Surveys also help identify when products are ready for markdown. And added bonus, asking for feedback adds to your customer experience by showing shoppers you want to make sure they love what they buy next time.
6. Use your data.
Crunching the just-right data can help you personalize offers and product assortments to increase purchases and lower the likelihood of a return. How? Use past shopper history to identify the right customers for specific products based on who has purchased similar products previously.
7. Optimize pricing.
Optimizing pricing can lower your return rates from customers who decide they overpaid for the product type or quality when the package arrives. Pricing can be a powerful tool to drive demand.
Happy returns are here.
Online returns are sometimes inevitable, but they can actually build customer loyalty. Fun fact: according to the National Retail Federation (NRF), 92% of consumers will still purchase from a retailer again if the return process is easy.
Make your return policy easy to navigate online and in-store, Rothy’s page on returns and exchanges offers the perfect example. The shoe retailer lets shoppers return purchases via mail or online and they have a simple exchange policy too. They offer exchanges for a different size and color in the same style – exchange orders ship once the original order has been returned.
Ready to reduce your return rates?
With Luminate Market Price and Clearance Price you can make sure you’re offering competitive pricing and markdowns to lower your return rate all year long. The JDA family of Luminate Retail solutions uses the power of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) for exacting precision. Built on a cognitive, real-time, connected platform, JDA Luminate solutions embrace digital-edge technologies like SaaS, IoT, AI, ML, advanced analytics and cross-platform integration.