4 tips against high returns at Christmas time

4 tips against high returns at Christmas time
Published on: Dec 23, 2018
Updated: Aug 19, 2022

Business booms at Christmas. Most online retailers generate as much as 25 percent of their total annual sales at this time. But as quickly as Christmas comes, it's already over. High returns at Christmas time usually make online retailers less than happy and spoil their fun. Many recipients often do not like or fit the gift after all. There are some reasons that cause customers to return the ordered goods.

What customers expect from returns processing

Simple returns processing and flexible return policies are becoming increasingly important for customers and are not infrequently the decisive factor when it comes to choosing an online store or making a purchase decision. As many as 76 percent of shoppers look at the online retailer's return policy before submitting their order. If the web store can score points with flexible and simple return conditions, the probability of a repeat purchase by the customer is relatively high. This is also a decisive reason when buying gifts at Christmas. If the recipient does not like the item, customers want to return it easily and conveniently without having to go through a lot of hassle.

What the legal basis says

Legally, the customer can return the goods within 14 days. However, a return without comment no longer applies since 2014. The customer must give a reason for his return. Many online stores already enclose a return form with the order. Of course, this saves customers unnecessary calls to customer service. In addition, some online stores offer an extended right of return at Christmastime to make it easier for customers to make stress-free returns. Of course, this also has advantages for the online retailer. Thus, not all returns come back to the online store between Christmas and the two following weeks. In addition, satisfied customers usually come back.

###Performance of the 100 largest German online stores.

Reasons for high returns during and after Christmas


By mid-January, returns are about 40 percent above normal. There are a few reasons why the volume of returns increases tremendously during as well as after Christmas.

1. the gift does not like the recipient


Often it is not exactly easy to meet the taste of the presentee. For this reason, many resort to vouchers and cash gifts when choosing a gift. However, who dares to take the step and surprise his loved ones with an original and personal gift, of course, always runs the risk that the gift in the end but not like. Therefore, it is all the better that the product can be returned and the gift recipient offered a replacement.

2. the gift was ordered in the wrong size


With gifts such as a chic sweater, shoes or an exciting dress, the likelihood of a return is extremely high - as is usually the case when shopping online for clothing items. Returns in the fashion industry are sometimes over 70 percent. So it's all the more important that the gift can be returned if it's the wrong size.

3. the gift has defects

The volume of parcels at Christmas increases enormously. Daily up to 15 million shipments are to be delivered. This not only means stress for the delivery staff, but also delivery trucks that are packed to the brim. It can happen that an inadequately packed product is damaged. Often, however, this is only noticed when the product is unpacked at home. A return is then of course essential.

4. the presentee already owns the product


Many people know their loved ones very well and know very well what they like. It can happen that the presentee already owns the gift. Since it then of course makes no sense to keep it, must be made use of the right of return. Here, too, a simple and flexible return is important.

5. the gift arrives too late

There are some people who realize only a few days before Christmas that they have not yet bought gifts. However, since the goods must be ordered or shipped by a certain date, so that they also arrive on time, they are often not aware of this. So it happens from time to time that the gift does not arrive by Christmas and the gift giver has already arranged for an alternative gift.


With these 4 tips you can avoid returns


Online retailers should not bury their heads in the sand now. There are some things they can do, even as a precaution, to keep return rates as low as possible.

1. detailed descriptions

Does not like the purchased gift because it was presented inaccurately in the online store or the product description was not specific enough? Then online retailers should start exactly there. This is particularly useful for products such as clothing, accessories and shoes. Whether with a 360-degree view or a product video - this helps the customer enormously in his decision.

2. fast shipping

For a small surcharge, it is a good idea to offer customers same-day delivery or next-day delivery. This should then of course be feasible in any case if the online retailer wants to offer this service to its customers. Therefore, this should be discussed in advance with the responsible logistics service providers.

###Reliable shipping messages are even more important at Christmas than usual.

3. payment method

It has been proven that ordering on account is associated with a higher rate of returns. This stems from the fact that customers are then more likely to order many products in different sizes and styles and return the rest. It may make sense to discontinue payment by invoice at Christmas time.

4. Stable packaging of products


The flood of packages at Christmas time is enormous. Deliverers are exposed to enormous time pressure. Since it is not uncommon that some packages are damaged. However, this problem can be remedied quite easily. Stable and secure shipping packaging is an absolute must, especially during the hectic Christmas season.


Christmas is the most stressful time of the year for online retailers. The orders increase enormously and thus also the returns during as well as after the celebration. However, if you are prepared for this and have taken some precautions, you should be able to cope with the volume of returns. Detailed descriptions and illustrations of the products on the website, fast shipping as well as stable shipping and product packaging keep the reasons for a return as low as possible. This way, online retailers can also enjoy the Christmas without stress. With the checklist for online retailers, nothing stands in the way of a (reasonably) relaxed Christmas.

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