And this particular aspect gives birth to an alarming situation for eCommerce traders. Gone are the days, when free shipping was nothing more than just a growing trend for online business. The present-day scenario has a different story to narrate in this context. Quite inevitably, free shipping gives your customers the flexibility and perfect opportunity of making returns too. And no matter how hard an eCommerce store tries, returns are inevitable.
Potential Reasons for eCommerce Returns
If the popular market surveys are anything to go by, then almost 30%-35% of online purchases are slated for returns, due to various reasons. Now, this is where the question arises. Why will a certain customer choose to return the product? Knowing this will help an eCommerce business owner to take the right steps to prevent these and enhance revenues from this booming sales channel. Here you go with some key reasons that give rise to product returns from eCommerce websites –
1) Disparity between Displayed and Delivered Product
Although it is easy to point the fingers at shoppers, one of the major reasons for eCommerce returns is the eCommerce stores themselves. The disparity between the actual product (images) and descriptions provided in the online catalogues proves to be the most potential reason for customers returning merchandise.
Refer to statistics again and it will help you comprehend the situation better. In reality, almost 65% of the purchase time, it is the merchants responsible for the returns and not the customers. A great way of avoiding this debacle is by providing comprehensive product descriptions as well as pristine clear product images to potential consumers.
2) Delivery of Wrong Merchandise
Another potential cause of eCommerce returns is the receipt of the wrong merchandise. At times, merchants deliver the wrong products to their customers, which prove to be a major incentive for product returns. Statistics states that the percentage of goods returned for this reason is about 23%. However, there is an effective escape route, in this regard. By training their employees and improving certain clerical systems, eCommerce stores can keep the event of wrong shipping at bay.
3) Products Failing to Match Expectations
If you are one of those passionate eCommerce store traders, then replace your position with that of your customers’. Perceive the entire situation from their viewpoint. How would you exactly feel if the product ordered by you does not match up to your expectations? Well, returns will be inevitable under such circumstances.
Delve deep into the nuances of the issue and you will discover that incorrect product specifications and half-hearted descriptions are the major reasons behind this particular consumer behavior. And it is the merchants who can plan an escape strategy from such issues.
4) Irrational Customer Behavior
It will be unjust to hold the merchants responsible always. There are times when irrational purchase behavior from the customer’s end initiates the process of returns. Moreover, there are eCommerce vendors offering free shipping facilities on returns too. And quite a few customers will reap the advantages of such policies and purchase more than their intended amounts; because they weren’t planning to buy in the first place.
5) Absence of Sizing Charts
According to the popular return trends, it is the clothing materials and fabrics returned the most. Customers are often unable to nail down the correct size and measurements and end up making the wrong purchases. And this is where the brick-and-mortar stores are still giving the eCommerce shops a run for their money. By providing proper measurements and sizing charts, merchants can reduce the rate of eCommerce returns for clothing materials (order multiple to try and return others).
6) Availability of Angle-views
Developing a proper understanding and perception of the product is also of paramount importance for making successful online purchases. There are items that require viewing from various angles. The absence of such viewing experiences can create a misconception regarding the appearance of the product. And the consequence is quite evident. The product gets returned straightaway.
Whenever there is an eCommerce return, merchants have to pay upfront costs, which is not a feasible way to carry out the business. But that should not prevent you from offering easy return policies to your customers because it has a dramatic positive impact on your business. If you have generous return facilities for your customers, then almost 80% of them will remain loyal to you. Next up, we will look at what are the key elements to consider when facing product returns, from a customer servicing point of view. Happy Reading till then!
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