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Make All Items “Suitable” or How to Prevent Product Return

Updated: May 31, 2023

This article explains when and why product return might be a significant issue for eCommerce merchants and what retailers should do to prevent or reduce its level.

2022 has begun with shocking news. Following the media, eCommerce retailers expected over $761 billion of merchandise to wind up back at stores and warehouses. It means that eCommerce skyrocketing led to a high level of product return.

Many shoppers abuse consumer rights to satisfy their temporary needs. This type of “rent” is common since people can use goods once or twice and bring them back, receiving a full refund.

The new scale of the good old issue made businesses look for solutions. Meanwhile, it’s challenging to set up a strict Return Policy without impacting the customer experience.

Here you will find out how to back the product return level to normal and why custom robust software is the best solution to this issue.

Why is Product Return a Problem?

Working in the eCommerce segment, you know there’s always room for issues. And none of them is critical until you can control its scale. Meanwhile, the situation with product return is a bit different.

We’re living in an age where one event can change the way of doing business or the market conditions. Global economic and business crisis makes people return bought things because they can afford them. Meanwhile, some shoppers buy the luxury staff for 1-2 days to show their prosperity during parties or other events. The next group of buyers has no opportunity to fit clothes or check electronics quality buying online.

There are a lot of reasons why people make products return. They always exist. But now, the scale of this “trend” turned it into a significant issue for retailers because of the following:

  • product return interferes with the appropriate assortment creation

  • it affects warehouse and logistics operations, creating a mess

  • companies are unlikely to be able to sell a returned item one more time

  • all the above reasons lead to reducing income

3 Steps Helping Reduce Product Return Without Damage Customer Experience

Know your client. Better.

Customer-oriented service always requires attention to buyers' needs. Meanwhile, even this approach is powerless when it comes to product return. Merchants know for sure what items their customers lack. They can discover it by collecting and analyzing customer behavior data, getting relevant information by applying a loyalty program, etc.

But for example, clothing stores can't track what size, color, and model of an item would suit each buyer. It means that it's arduous for businesses to dive deeper into details. Moreover, this data is not so reliable as a basis for offering since appearance can change as well as taste preferences. Anyway, such little things still remain the core reason shoppers back their purchases.

Fierce competition and constant technological development show retailers new ways to discover more and more about their customers. Companies have started implementing IoT, trying to transform it into the full-fledged Internet of Behaviors. They try to collect more valuable data and create accurate data models to upgrade client profiles and predict the demand. Some companies have gone even further. Recently, Think Tribe introduced smart electronic receipts allowing merchants to boost sales. They also enable retailers to gather data about buyer preferences and periodically update customer profiles with new information.

To reduce product return, you should choose the relevant tech approach to help you know your customers better and support your business growth.

Apply intelligent software

The following option for reducing product return is to limit the reasons people bring the items back. As seen, buyers return clothes because they didn’t suit, and the same goes for furniture or electronics. The core drawback of eCommerce is that customers can’t see and evaluate a purchase offline. Therefore, their expectations do not always match reality.

You can also turn this weakness into your strength by implementing AR/VR-based apps like IKEA or JD. Let buyers see how the desired item would look in their interior or how the latest model of sneakers will upgrade their image. Allow them to ensure that a washing machine will fit in a niche. This approach will play in your favor by expanding your audience. And yes, this way, you would be able also to reduce the number of requests concerning product return.

Transform your contact center

Let your contact center agents clarify the order details from the beginning and build an accurate database for further order processing.

Unfortunately, employees can't cope with the overload usual for eCommerce by using legacy software. There's always room for human mistakes or system crashes. Therefore, the ultimate result might not satisfy the buyer's needs. Here's one more reason why people return their purchases.

Modernization of contact center software might be a reasonable solution to the product return issue. It allows agents to process each request attentively and use a one-stop-shop interface for convenient work. Elimination of routine and stressful work helps them focus on request peculiarities and prevent purchases from returning for you.

The Bottom Line

Product return stops being an issue under any conditions if you know how to reduce its level or prevent it at all. You have a variety of options to choose from. Meanwhile, we’re offering you to pay attention to 3 above actions that would help you to control the purchase return process. Among them are:

  • more profound discovery of your customers’ preferences with the cutting-edge software

  • usage of modern technology, like IoT, and AR/VR, to let people buy items that will suit them

  • transformation of contact center software to make it convenient for agents processing order details

If you are looking for a proper solution to the product return problem - let us know! Our experts will advise you on the appropriate approach to supporting your retail business.

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