Product returns are unavoidable. According to a dated Time Magazine report, they exceeded $2 billion in 2012, a 10 percent increase from the year prior. Today, continuing this trend, returns are estimated to be in the $220 billion dollar marker, with a vast majority of returns being initiated just after Black Friday (the popular U.S. retail shopping holiday) or Cyber Monday (the popular online U.S. shopping holiday).
In related reports, most often the return of a product that was ordered from an online retailer is not the fault of the customer. In fact, in about 65% of instances, the online store is at fault. Key factors include: damaged product being received; product differing from appearance; or product not fitting, like clothing. Interestingly enough, clothing is the most often returned product online due to the inability of shoppers to try it on before they buy it.
A newfound solution does enter to save the day – and grace – of the online retail community: returns management software solutions (see related article on implementing an effective returns management process for your online store). Newer and fully integrated software is able to be placed directly into an ecommerce website without coding required. It creates a self-servicing online product returns portal where customers can self-service their own returns, with the rules being set and managed by the e-retailer.
Returns Are Part of Doing Business Online
If you do business online in any retail ecommerce capacity, returns are just part of the game. Simply put: customers will want to make returns. Unbeknownst to most retailers, however, is the fact that the customer who makes the most returns also shops at your store the most often. Catering to these customers – as opposed to dissuading them – with a generous, hassle-free returns policy is how giants like Amazon and Zappos have sent industry standards while earmarking uncanny revenue streams in the process.
A Bad Returns Policy Deters Customers
Offering a bad returns policy won’t do you any good in the long run. One reason is that shoppers have umpteen places where they can do business online. That means that they can easily find the same item your store is offering at another store that offers the returns policy they favor (in most cases). It’s always good practice to consider this notion when creating the rules your returns. In short: generous returns equate to increased revenue and customer retention.
Projecting Returns & Associated Cost
One benefit to integrating a returns solution is that you can more easily project the cost of returns. Such software can help you forecast your returns cost, which you can use aggregate the data against your profit windfalls. This can help you more easily decide what rules of your returns to implement into your online store (see related article on how returns management solutions can increase your profits).
Implementing such a software solution sooner than later is smart, forward-thinking that can help you become the king of the jungle in the game of survival world that comprises ecommerce industry during the present day.