The holiday shopping season is upon us, the busiest eCommerce sales period of the year. But with sales come returns. A quarter of consumers return, on average, 5 to 15 per cent of what they buy online.
And eCommerce is especially impacted by returns compared to brick-and-mortar. It is estimated online retailers deal with a return rate of over 20 per cent compared to the 9 per cent return rate for brick-and-mortar.
Of course, part of the appeal of eCommerce is the easy return policy; it helps drive sales. Customers expect it, which brands can use to their advantage. But returns don’t come cheap.
The US-based National Retail Federation estimated that consumers returned over $100 billion worth of merchandise purchased online to retailers in 2020. Of that figure, 7.5 per cent was labelled as fraudulent.
Fortunately, you can still maintain a strong return policy without eating too much into your bottom line. Here are some eCommerce returns best practices to leverage this holiday shopping season.
Ecommerce Returns Best Practices
Over 60 per cent of shoppers are more likely to buy your product online if they can return it in-store.
Encouraging customers to visit a store for returns has several advantages. First, it cuts down on logistics costs because a clerk at the store can inspect the item and potentially put it on the shelf for other customers. Secondly, it entices foot traffic where a customer can see a replacement for the product and possibly buy more.
If you don’t have a physical store, the best practice would be to instruct users to post the item back to your warehouse or fulfillment centre.
Moreover, you can outsource your return management to a third-party logistics partner (3PL). A 3PL offers brands reverse logistics, which will store your inventory in a third-party warehouse and take care of any returns.
Artificial intelligence also offers brands exciting tools to improve customer experience, so returns aren’t necessary in the first place. One AI tool in particular can help predict what items a customer is likely to return and then suggest a more appropriate item.
Also, in a sector like clothing, where customers often return items because they don’t fit, AI can judge which items are driving returns based on sizing issues and offer sizing recommendations to users to better educate them on the product.
Let Us Help You Leverage eCommerce Returns Best Practices
Marketsupport offers eCommerce auditing solutions like compliance to ensure your products are being properly managed online. We also offer AI and data analytics solutions to give you better visibility into your sales. When you have full visibility into your online marketplace, you’re better positioned to leverage eCommerce returns best practices.
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