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 clear that people often order more than they actually want. However, online retailers often have to accept enormous return rates because the customer does not 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 per cent.

Image Online retailers are also often faced with enormous return 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 doesn't fit, the recipient already owns it or it simply doesn't appeal. Even if it's particularly extreme at Christmas time, the return rates don't look much different throughout the year.

[tooltip title="" colour="blue"]Only about 70 percent of returned goods can be reused. This results in enormous costs for online retailers. The inspection of returned goods and quality control can quickly become expensive for companies.

3 ways to get a grip on the number of returns

In the future, online retailers should develop even more or even better strategies and measures to keep return rates and thus their costs as low as possible. This is already a major concern for many e-commerce companies. 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 articles are as meaningful and detailed as possible. In this way, the customer can better imagine the goods before buying them and decide whether they correspond to his or her wishes and ideas. Especially for online shops in the fashion sector, detailed product images or, if possible, even product videos should always be used. This gives the customer a better impression of the product and allows him to make a much more reflective decision.

2. consultation tools

There are a variety of advice 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 respective product. Done!

<Customer satisfaction

Another important lever that companies often forget, but which has a significant influence on 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 get really exciting.

###Reducing return rates by increasing customer satisfaction

Does the package arrive on time? Will I be informed about delays? Will the parcel be safely deposited where I want it to be? These and many other questions occupy the minds of customers as they eagerly wait for 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. What is most important, however, is that he is satisfied with the entire ordering as well as shipping process and that he remembers the company positively. Of course, satisfaction with the goods themselves is even more important.

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

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

"The customer is king" should not just be a saying, but should also be lived by the company. 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 here comes the crux: all this should also be ensured beyond the order or during shipping. For this reason, communication should not 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 be sure that the shopping experience for his customer - in which he has usually already invested a lot - does not stop with the shipment. Only when the customer holds the goods in his hands - or when the return has arrived back at the retailer - should the customer journey really be over for the customer. And actually it shouldn't be. Because happy customers usually come back!

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