As ecommerce returns volumes climb, online retailers should really embrace the returns process. Here is why
As the ecommerce industry expands at a steady pace, it’s quickly becoming the newest, fastest and most convenient way to shop online. Bear in mind that convenience is the commonest reason why shoppers choose to use the internet over a brick and mortar location, according to leading sources like eConsultancy.
This convenience is easily spelled out, too. Take for example the ease of online shopping. You don’t have to leave your home. Your products are delivered to your front door. Usually you can get cheap or free shipping. And, the pricing is hard to beat. All of this sounds great, with exception to one thing: ecommerce returns.
With entities like Internet Retailer saying that ecommerce is worth $3.5 trillion, returns have gone almost entirely unnoticed. With the exception of a few popular marketplaces like Amazon, which makes returns easy, they generally are a hassle at most places that you can shop at online.
Even though large retailers like Zappos make returns simple and free – and have a return rate that is near 50% while still profiting immensely – other retailers do not. If your business falls into this category, there are a few reasons to consider revamping your ecommerce returns policy, because you are assuredly losing out on future profits and improved consumer loyalty and retention.
Easy, Automated Returns Make You More Money
Can easy and automated returns make you more money from customers? According to a massive UPS study that was conducted at the end of 2015, yes, they can. The study revealed several findings that help paint the real picture on ecommerce returns and profitability. It found that 66% of shoppers want free return shipping; 58% want hassle-free returns; 47% want an easy-to-print return label; and 42% will make a new purchase when placing a return online. Pay attention to the last stat in that series: 42% of shoppers will make a new purchase from an online store when returning an item.
The Customer Usually Is Right When It Comes to Returns
When most retailers get a return, the first thought is that this is going to be hassle. After all, you have to deal with restocking the item or sending a damaged one back to the manufacturer. This can cost you time and money. But what should also be considered is the customer, and the fact that studies show that in 65% of all cases of ecommerce returns, it’s the retailer’s fault.
Here’s how the numbers break down:
65% of returns are due to retailer error, not consumer fault.
23% of online returns are because the consumer received the wrong product.
22% of online returns are due to the product being substantially different in appearance than was advertised online.
20% of online returns are due to the consumer receiving a damaged or a defective item.
Automated Returns Are Highly Desired
A vast majority of consumers want an easy and efficient way to make returns. Offering them this does not mean that you have to go for broke in the process of doing so, though. Rather, it just means that you need to be creative in how you approach it.
Newer software like TrueShip’s ReadyReturns automates ecommerce returns. It enables retailers to offer an Amazon-like returns environment where they can let the consumer generate a return shipping label and process a return in just a few steps. With major shopping cart and marketplace integrations, you can be in par with larger retailers no matter your store’s size.
As the above studies attest, getting ahead in ecommerce also means being mindful about your returns policy and the process. With 42% of consumers making a new purchase online during a return, it’s easy to understand why convenient returns do indeed mean more profit for retailers in the long run. But simple fix such as that which is suggested above could put you in line to be more competitive in a snap.