Managing returns in e-commerce

Returns are a part of e-commerce. As a seller, you should factor in possible returns. However, it is important to organise your online trade in such a way that returns do not become a significant part of your online business. Otherwise, too many returns can have a negative impact on the ranking of the shop or the brand. Returns also cause additional costs.
You should understand and anticipate the reasons for possible returns. This is where returns management, whose job it is to plan, manage and control returns in e-commerce, can help.
If you outsource your fulfilment, fulfilment providers can also handle the returns management of your online retail business. This way you can save your time and invest time resources in the strategic development and improvement of your online trade.

Possible causes of returns in e-commerce

Customers may return purchased items for various motives. Among the main causes of returns in e-commerce one can mention:

  • not matching the description: the product has different colour or pattern,
  • different dimensions that do not match the information on the sales platform;
  • the item is incomplete (e.g. if the smartphone has no charger)
  • the customer has received a counterfeit and not the original product;
  • the item is of poor quality: factory defects, defects;
  • the item has defects in appearance and deformed, crumpled packaging;
  • expired expiry date and damage on delivery

Understanding and analysing these reasons can help retailers avoid potential e-commerce returns in the future.

How to minimise the number of returns in online retail: Our tips

Returns are a fact of life in online retail, but it pays to improve the presentation of your products to reduce the number of returns.

Minimising the risk of potential returns is also a challenge for returns management. So what can you do to reduce or avoid returns?

In order to minimise the number of possible returns in the future, it is important to analyse the reasons for existing returns during returns management in e-commerce. Since most of the causes are due to inaccurate or incomplete product information for potential customers, we recommend that you pay attention to the following aspects:

  • professional product descriptions;
  • detailing the main and optional features to show more information about the product;
  • using the potential of visual content: high-quality videos and product
  • images, photos from different angles.

Efficient returns management in e-commerce also requires dealing with customer queries that point to insufficiently informative product descriptions. For example, frequent enquiries about the correct use of a certain product should be a sign for you that your item description needs instructions for use. Taking customer questions into account when handling returns in e-commerce can help to meet the expectations of the public and also have a positive effect on the number of returns in the future.