How to reduce returns for your ecommerce business
Put a liberal returns policy in place
Customers are unlikely to part with their cash if they know your returns policy is a breadcrumb trail of awkward steps and tedious hoop jumping.
Also known as a customer-centric returns policy, a liberal returns policy gives your customers the confidence that should an item not be to their liking, they can return it just as easily as they bought it. A business that’s seen to be generous is one whose customers will trust. And later down the conversion funnel, that trust then translates into conversion.
Don’t be tempted use your returns policy as a way of saving money. In a world of free returns, many consumers are unlikely to make a purchase in the first place if they have to pay for return shipping.
Along with free returns, you might also want to extend the returns window from the usual 28-30 days to something longer like 45-90. Customers are more likely to form an attachment to your products if they have a longer time to return it – which means they’re less likely to return it!
Use quality imagery and descriptions in your product pages
If your products look like one thing on your site but arrive at your customers’ homes looking like something else entirely, then your returns are likely to skyrocket. Keep those disappointment levels to a minimum by making sure your customers know exactly what they’re ordering.
Optimise your product page descriptions by using language and imagery to your advantage. For example, product descriptions should feature key information and USPs written to entice your audience. Use a headline to grab their attention, sum up essential features using bullet points, and finish up with a call-to-action designed to get your customers moving ahead with their purchase.
As for imagery, make sure you’re including plenty of different angles of the item in question that reflect real-world usage. If it’s an item of clothing, use a model to illustrate how it fits, for instance. Let your customers familiarise themselves with your products by offering 360-degree views, a zoom feature and videos of the product in action, if possible.
Use customer reviews to your advantage
Customer reviews on your product description pages are a great way of boosting your product’s social proof. By utilising subjective opinions, there’s a whole range of individual-specific insights that your customers can use when deciding to make a purchase. It’s also a great way of seeing if customers are having issues with your products, information which can then be used to improve the listing, the marketing of the item or even the product itself.
If you’ve struggled to get reviews in the past, then offering rewards and incentives – such as 10% off their next order – are a great way of encouraging customers to throw in their own two cents when it comes to previous purchases.