Over the past decade, retailers have seen a dramatic rise in the amount of people choosing to shop online. This holiday season is seeing comparison shopping going through the roof (Nielsen). People are tired of sleeping in tents for a week, when they can get the same deals with a couple of clicks. Competing online retailers are now forced to come up with new and creative ways to make sure that it’s their online platform that shoppers are choosing to buy from and minimize the biggest pitfall that online retailers currently face; high return rates. So, how do you reduce online returns?
Currently the average returns rates are around 20%, however some retailers are facing highs of around 50% as shoppers discover that items bought online sometimes don’t live up to promises in the real world (Forrester). Also, many shoppers are adopting a Zappos mentality online, where with free shipping and returns, you simply order several items, check them out when you get them, and keep only the one you select. When retailers start talking about re-stocking fees, people just go elsewhere.
With the Christmas season about over, many retailers are already seeing soaring sales and equally high return rates. This is a case where information can have a direct impact on the future health of your company. Consumers really need to have enough knowledge to make an informed purchase. The more information offered to the customer at the point of purchase, the more likely the product will end up being suitable for them. Pictures, close-ups of textures, options, in-use shots for both application and to show scale are worth the cost of a professional photo shoot. Accurate descriptions can still have enough benefit language to be helpful.
If you sell things that people wear or have different sizes, this is incredibly important to get right. Spend some extra time putting charts or examples in place to illustrate what sizes actually fit what. Show people wearing them, use virtual modeling plug-ins on your site, etc. The extra money can pay off in return reduction. If you sell $20 t-shirts this is no big deal. If you sell $200 jeans, it is.
Use technology to get ahead of the game in online shopping and it can help your bottom line.