We know that online orders are constantly growing nowadays, but parcel returns are still a problem for e-merchants.

According to Atlantic, the e-commerce return rate ranges from 15 to 30% on average for a marketplace versus 10% for a physical store.

This is most common in the clothing industry as consumers cannot try items before they buy them. Often, they are forced to order the same product in several sizes or shoe size.

In this article, we will look at the main reasons why a customer returns a product and what advice should be taken to reduce parcel returns. Finally, we will see what the ecological impact is on the reduction of returns.

What are the reasons a customer returns a package?

Payments Journal identifies the main reasons why a customer returns a package. In 60% of parcel returns, the product is damaged or defective and in 40% of cases buyers change their mind because the product is not perceived in the same way between the photo and the reality.

In other cases, the product delivered is not the one ordered, the package is late or it is lost and the order has been cancelled by the customer.

Indeed, we find that in most cases parcel returns are due to 3 main causes:

1/Logistics organization (packaging and transport)

2/ Lack of information (incomplete description, return policy) 

3/ The customer’s voluntary choice to return the product 

What are the costs of a return?

  • The shipping cost of the first shipment
  • Transport costs for the return of the package
  • The time spent processing the package: opening the package, checking it, putting it back in stock or sending it for repair
  • Reshipment of a new product

How to reduce package returns?

Optimize your e-commerce return rate

 

Tip n°1 Make complete product sheets

To avoid parcel returns, you must optimize the e-commerce return rate. Your product sheets must be complete and provide all the necessary information and characteristics (product content, advice for use, etc.).

For example if your site offers clothing and shoes: Provide a size guide, show available colors and specify accessible materials and shades. This will also improve your natural referencing.

 

Tip n°2 Ensure the quality of your images and videos

Another very important point to reduce parcel returns is to have good photo or video quality. Photos and videos give even more precise information to consumers and therefore contribute to the purchase decision.

According to the Fevad study, 64% of visitors are more likely to buy a product after watching a video. 

 

Tip n°3 Take care with the packaging and packaging of the product

To reduce parcel returns, take care of the packaging of the products you are going to ship and use adequate packaging. (see our advice on packaging).

If you are shipping fragile items, crash test packages to test their strength (see more in detail our advice on fragile products).

Finally, if you ship wine, do not hesitate to read our advice by downloading our e-book.

Tip n°4 Inform your customers at every stage of the order

Offer several delivery options and inform your customers about the order process as soon as it is confirmed, as well as tracking details (order status, payment terms, delivery and/or warranty).

Tip n°5 Ask for customer reviews

Give your customers the opportunity to leave reviews on your site. You can go through a specialized site like Avis Vérifiés or TrustPilot. Customer reviews are also essential for your natural referencing.

Regularly send satisfaction surveys to find out how well your product meets their expectations. Do not hesitate to give them the opportunity to add photos or videos on your site using or wearing the article or product. When consumers know in advance what to expect from a product, it pushes them more easily to the act of purchase.

Make your parcel returns a competitive force

Conseil n°6 Définir une politique de retour claire et précise

Specify all the necessary information in your return policy and offer extended return periods (at least 30 days).

Online shoppers buy more from a site where the return process is easy and accessible. If you have a good profit margin, offer your customers free returns as this will build loyalty. Do not hesitate to read our article on "How to set your shipping costs".

Know that today 67% of e-shoppers check the return policy of a site before buying online.

Tip n°7 Create a page dedicated to the return procedure

The customer needs a page where they can submit a return request. Explain in detail the return procedure and specify whether the return is free or paid as well as the price.

It should be noted that the consumer has a right of withdrawal of 14 days following your shipment.

The main information that the return procedure must contain:

  1. Give return deadlines
  2. Explain which products cannot be returned and refunded
  3. Ask your customers for the Reasons for return.
  4. Offer several return methods (relay point, post office)
  5. Explain the procedure for preparing the package
  6. Specify in what condition the product can be returned
  7. Communicate repayment options and duration
  8. Provide the return label

Tip n°8 Offer multiple return methods

Give your customers a choice by offering them several return methods (relay point, post office, etc.) If you want to manage your returns more easily, register for free on our My Flying Box platform. We negotiate attractive rates with our partner carriers. 

What to do in case of lost package?

In the event of a parcel lost by the carrier, the customer must send you a request for reimbursement and you have the obligation to reimburse him within 14 days of his request.

My Flying Box already includes free insurance that covers you up to an amount of €50 including tax in the event that your package is lost or damaged.

You can also take the insurance «Ad Valorem »  optional if your shipments contain valuables.

Tip n°9 Offer several reimbursement methods

You have the obligation to reimburse your customers within 14 days of receipt of the return. Offer different refund options, a credit note or an exchange and communicate refund deadlines.

The ecological impact on the decrease in returns

 

By adopting all these tips you will reduce the return of your products and adopt an eco-responsible approach.

Your impact on the environment, what are the positive effects?

  • Fewer materials used for wrapping and packaging
  • Less waste to recycle
  • Less transport and therefore lower fuel emissions

Adapting a good return policy and communicating transparent and accessible information to online buyers greatly contributes to the act of purchase.

Finally, good returns management is a real competitive advantage. 

This will allow you to:

✓ Increase your turnover

✓ Increase the shopping cart of your customers 

✓ Build customer loyalty