This is why high return rates spoil the fun for online retailers

This is why high return rates spoil the fun for online retailers
Published on: Jul 12, 2018
Updated: Aug 19, 2022

Everyone likes to order online - whether for convenience, time reasons or because of the large selection options. However, it is of course clear that people often order more than they actually wanted. However, online retailers often have to accept enormous return rates because the customer doesn't want to keep everything in the end or has ordered different sizes or variants. This can be observed especially in the fashion sector. Here, the return rate is sometimes over 60 percent.

Image Online retailers also often face enormous return shipping costs

Even more information on return rates and costs as well as the German e-commerce market can be found in the related infographic.

The problem for retailers: returns are expensive

At Christmas, the problem with high return rates is experientially particularly severe. Either the gift does not fit, the presentee already owns it or it simply does not please. Even if it's particularly extreme at Christmas time, the return rates don't look much different throughout the year.

[tooltip title="" color="blue"]Only about 70 percent of returned goods can be reused. This results in enormous costs for online retailers. Sifting through returned goods or quality control can quickly become expensive for companies.[/tooltip]

3 ways to get a handle on returns


Online retailers should develop even more or even better strategies and measures in the future to keep return rates and thus their costs as low as possible. Many e-commerce companies are already very concerned about this. Often, however, this does not work out quite as they had imagined. There are various ways to get a grip on the problem.

1. product descriptions and images

It is extremely important that the product descriptions of the items are as meaningful and detailed as possible. Thus, the customer can better imagine the goods before buying and decide whether they match his wishes and ideas. Especially for online stores in the fashion sector, detailed product images or, if possible, even product videos should always be used. Thus, the customer gets a better impression of the product and can make his decision much more reflective.

2. consulting tools

There are a variety of consulting tools that make shopping on the Internet easier. One of them is the Fit Finder from Fit Analytics. The tool is quick and easy to use: enter your height, weight and age - and it will determine the right figure type or suggest an individual size recommendation for the product in question. Done!

3. customer satisfaction

Another important lever, which companies often forget, but which significantly influences the level of returns, is the customer's satisfaction with the order process. And this, of course, includes the shipping of the goods. For many companies, however, customer contact ends with the completion of the order. A big mistake! After all, it's only after the checkout that things really get exciting.

###Reduce return rates by increasing customer satisfaction.

Does the package arrive on time? Will I be informed of any delays? Will the package be safely deposited where I want it to be? These and many other questions occupy the minds of customers as they eagerly await their new shoes or the birthday present for their loved ones. The likelihood that the customer will return his goods if this is not guaranteed is small, but should not be underestimated. The most important thing, however, is that he is satisfied with the entire ordering as well as shipping process and has a positive memory of the company. Even more important, of course, is satisfaction with the goods themselves.

Customer satisfaction is the basis for a successful online store. But how can it be increased at best?

Customer communication is the be-all and end-all in online retail


"The customer is king" should not just be a saying, but should also be lived by the company in this way. Because that is exactly what the customer expects. He wants the online retailer to solve any problems that arise and to ensure individual treatment and communication. And this is the crux of the matter: All of this should also be ensured beyond the order or during shipping. For this reason, communication here should by no means be left to the shipping service providers, but should be handled by the online retailer itself.

Only in this way can the online retailer really ensure that the shopping experience for his customer - in which he has usually already invested a lot - does not break down with the shipment. The customer journey should not really end for the customer until he holds the goods in his hands - or until the return has arrived back at the retailer. And actually, it shouldn't be. After all, happy customers usually come back!

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