For sellers, returned or cancelled orders is something nightmares are made up of. If you’ve ever experienced this as a merchant, you’d know how strong the impact is -- on your brand’s reputation, profit margins, conversion rates and ROI.In the US alone, 42% of online shoppers have returned an item they had bought online in the last six months.
Though returns can’t be completely avoided especially in ecommerce businesses, here are a few ways to ensure they are minimized:
1. Clear Product Description
A clear-cut product description with complete product specifications on the different features, helps the buyer understand the product usage and its relevance in their day-to-day life. If yours is an apparel store and a model is wearing the outfit, mention the height and weight of the model so the buyer can gauge how well the product is going to fit them.
2. High-Res Images
High-resolution but compressed images let the buyer know exactly how the product looks -- its colour, texture, material used, dimensions or sizes available and even the product uses. The images should aptly represent your products and the buyers should be given the choice to zoom into your products or view it at a 360 degree angle.
3. Monitor Inventory
Keep a tab on your stocks to check which of them are available and in what sizes and colours and update your store from time to time. You’d even need to predict the stocks that will soon need replenishment, depending on an analysis of the most purchased or bestseller products. Don’t forget to do this during a huge sale rush or a festive occasion!
4. Confirm availability for COD orders
If you don’t confirm availability of the user for a COD order, it could result in a sizeable loss in case the user is not there to pick up the order and make the payment. Confirm the delivery slot beforehand and notify the customer via email and SMS when the order is out for delivery.
5. Process Orders for Faster Shipping
The processing of an order includes selecting, packaging, screening the product before dispatch and sending it for delivery with a reliable logistics provider. Ensure that this process is carried out as quickly and smoothly as possible. For 54% of US online shoppers, same-day shipping facilities drive them to buy an item. Delivery within 1-2 days of placing the order is another way you can offer a great customer service and ensure lesser returns.
6. Estimated Delivery Date
When you show the estimated delivery date for an item on your store, the buyer is able to make a quick decision whether or not to purchase the item. This would help you build trust and transparency with the user as well.
7. Validate pincode, address, and phone number
Confirm the delivery address, pincode and phone number of the customer before dispatching the order.
8. Inform buyer about delivery status
Let the buyer track the order and help them with product-based FAQ or a live chat option on your store so that the customers know when to expect their order. This may even lead to repeat buys and is aimed at retaining customers while building their trust on your brand.
Follow these steps so that your order return rates drop substantially and you remain at a competitive advantage with an established customer loyalty for your brand.