We know that closing an order online is not the beginning or the end of the buying process. In other words, an experienced e-commerce manager knows that to create a successful online store his work starts much earlier, with the customer and creating an engaging product journey so as to avoid exchanges or returns, grow cart size and implement tactics that convince those still on the fence to make the purchase.
According to a PostNord report, in 2015 24% of buyers made exchanges and returns and in 2019, the corresponding figure was 43%, where the fashion industry has the largest number of consumers (67.2 million) who returned an item.
This is the diagnosis and as ecommerce grows, investments and consistent strategies are needed to avoid these problems.
How to prevent exchanges and returns
The issue of preventing exchanges and returns is essential for all e-commerce, especially for the Fashion Industry. Each month, this indicator has grown and has had a direct impact on results, damaging profitability. In the United States, for example, a loss of US $ 550 billion is estimated by 2020, which represents an increase of 75.2% over the last 4 years.
Today, two resources are readily available to help reduce this problem: the use of measurement tables, which is mandatory under European law, and virtual fitting room technology.
When a online shop doesn´t provide a good shopping experience in regards to size choice, customers won’t buy or buy many doubts which leads to ordering different sizes and then returning what doesn´t fit, causing great expense in reverse logistics.
We know that if the customer is involved in choosing size from the very beginning, chances are they are committing themselves to the purchase, thus reducing exchanges or returns considerably. This is Sizebay´s commitment when developing algorithms and technology that operate our virtual clothing and footwear fitting room: SizeFit.
What if clients still want to return? Check out our next tip:
How to handle exchanges and returns
We know that returns are particularly challenging for fashion retailers, but we also know that many online shops deal badly with this process. A return policy has to be an integral part of the customer experience and it must be as smooth and simple as possible. Creating difficulties in the exchange or return process might save a cancellation, but it will cost many customers down the line.
So, summarizing, retailers should:
- Make return policies clear and easy to understand so customers can find them before and after purchase.
- Provide options for returns. Customers like convenience, so let them choose the best options for them. This could be a service like Collect +, or allowing them to take items back to their local store.
- Make returns free. Yes, there are costs to retailers, but if you want to keep customers happy and loyal, don’t make them pay.
Returns are a fact of life for online retailers, and they should look to minimise returns through clear product information, invest in technology like fitting and sizing tools and customer reviews.
These investments will make the customer journey process simple so they are not deterred from making a purchase in the first place, and are happy to buy again even if they return items.