Can You Reduce Your Business’s Product Returns?

Customer returns are a huge problem plaguing businesses right now—especially businesses that conduct their sales online instead of in-stores. Why? Returns cost a lot of money. Not only do you have to issue a full or partial refund to the customer, but you also have to cover the costs of shipping, processing and restocking the item.

The costs are so high that some major retailers are asking customers to avoid returns altogether. The retailers give the customers refunds for the purchases and ask them to keep the unwanted products to sell, donate or dispose.

Is there a way that you can stop product returns? While you can’t stop returns, you can do your best to minimize returns related to damage and miscommunication. Read ahead to find out how.


Give Products a Safer Journey

Sending your customers damaged items is an expensive error. You’ll have to cover the costs of the returns and refunds, and you’ll lose out on sellable products. When a product is damaged, you can’t restock it and hope another customer likes it. You’ll have to eat the cost and throw it away.

So, if your products are being returned because of damages, you should make some changes. First, are you using the right packaging? Is it keeping your product safe and secure, or is the product succumbing to damage from constant movement? You may need to invest in better packaging to keep your products unscathed by the time they reach the customer.

Second, you should look into the shipping methods that you’re using. For instance, are you using the right shipping container? Your products might need a specific shipping container, like a reefer container (refrigerated container), to stay in top condition. You can buy a shipping container with these specific features so that your products don’t incur any unnecessary damage while traveling.

Why buy one? Buying a shipping container instead of renting one gives you more control over your shipment process. You’ll have access to this specialized container for the initial journey and its return.


Eliminate Miscommunication

Many online product returns can be chalked up to miscommunication. The customer returned the item because it was the wrong size, color, fit or style. This is avoidable!

With your product listings, give customers as much information as possible. Describe the size, material, color and style — you can even add care and cleaning instructions. Add multiple photos showcasing your product at different angles in good lighting. You want to give the customer as much visual context as possible. 

If you sell clothing, you should have a measurement/size guide with every listing. It will help customers determine what size will fit them best.


Use AR Tools

Innovative businesses are using augmented reality (AR) tools to help with the shopping experience. The beauty retailer Sephora uses the Virtual Artist tool to let customers try on different eyeshadows, lip colors and false lashes through their smartphones. The eyeglasses retailer Warby Parker lets customers try on glasses with their AR tool while online shopping. And plenty of clothing retailers are offering virtual fitting rooms where shoppers can try on outfits to see how they look on them before they go to the checkout.

These AR tools take a lot of the guesswork out of online shopping. Customers will find the items they really like and make fewer returns.

Stop letting product returns sabotage your profits and productivity. Make these changes now.