Did you know eCommerce stores are faced with a far greater number of returns when compared to brick and mortar stores? In fact, over 30% of all products ordered online are returned as compared to just over 9% in brick-and-mortar stores!
This can be a significant challenge for start-ups looking to overcome the first year with a healthy bottom line. We’ve rounded up a list of top tips from industry leaders to ensure you are successfully earning a profit with minimal returns.
A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words
While ordering items online is considered a modern convenience, there are setbacks associated with ordering online. When making a purchase virtually, many senses generally used when buying an item in person are removed. Do your best to overcome this obstacle by offering detailed, high-quality photos of each product you offer. Since buyers are not able to hold the item in their hand before determining if they would like to purchase, do your best to anticipate the questions and concerns one might have – and cover those bases with photographs. Be sure to photograph the item from multiple angles including the back and as close as you can to show the texture.
Additionally, use special consideration when selecting the “default” image or the image that will be displayed initially for the product. You will want this photo to show the entire product in the best light and framing possible. Leave no room for interpretation as to what the product is to draw as much attention as possible from interested buyers. You want the photo to scream “Here I am, I am just the thing you are looking for!”
Also, you should offer both studio-quality images with solid background as well as “real world” examples of the product in its natural habitat. If you are selling e-bikes, consider hiring a professional photographer to take stunning photos on the beach and in bustling cities. This will enable the potential buyer to personalize the item and imagine themselves using it – which will increase the likelihood of a purchase and decrease returns!
Make Your Descriptions (Excessively) Descriptive
What does it feel like? How thick is the fabric? Do I have to take the item to the cleaners? Is it 100% cotton? How does it fit? A top reason for returns is “item was not as described” and “the item didn’t fit as expected.” Business owners can do their best to minimize returns for these reasons by including as many details as possible about the item.
Adding this information will give your customers confidence in their purchase which results in more sales and fewer returns. If you are selling clothing or shoes, consider creating a standardized sizing guide. This should be easily accessible on each product page and reflect the dimensions of the product and which size is recommended for various heights and weights. Many top brands take this a step further by including images of models in various sizes wearing the item to better illustrate the fit and give the buyer additional confidence with their purchase.
Consider hiring a well-versed copywriter to create product descriptions for each item. You will want to clearly identify what the item does, what its intended use is and what value it will add to the customer’s life. There is plenty of competition in the eCommerce space and your goal should be to quickly reassure the customer that you understand their needs and have the perfect item to make their lives more enjoyable and easier! This will not only result in more purchases but it will increase the likelihood of your buyers being pleased with their items and keeping and – and becoming returning loyal customers!
Offer Support and Answer Questions
Offering a chat option has become nearly standard for larger eCommerce businesses and is a best practice you can include as your business grows. A great way to get started is to collect a list of frequently asked questions. How long does the customer have to return an item (learn about eCommerce shipping options)? Do you sell gift cards? How long does shipping take? Can I use this coupon? Compile this list and create a FAQ tab that can be referenced on the main menu and is viewable on every page on your website. Be sure to continually add to the list as you notice repetitive questions. Once you have a solid list of questions and answers, you can look into a chatbot service that allows the customer to ask questions in a chat box and then receive answers quickly and easily. As your eCommerce business grows, you can look into hiring a person to monitor incoming questions in real-time!