The pandemic forever altered the way consumers shop. The fast-growing ecommerce landscape means today’s buyers purchase items they’ve never seen or touched. While e-commerce allows brands and retailers to sell more products to a larger audience, with online sales comes significant return rates.
Understanding why consumers make returns is essential knowledge for product marketers and commerce professionals. In this article, we examine the most effective ways to reduce online return rates with better content.
Why Are Ecommerce Return Rates So High?
According to one study, online retailers see a return rate at about 20%. That’s a significant jump from brick-and-mortar return rates, which rest at just 9%.
Online returns pose significant logistical and financial hurdles for retailers to clear. Online returns necessitate return shipping costs. And instead of instant return, the merchandise takes days to get back to the seller.
In addition to these cons, online returns are inconvenient for the consumer. Shoppers buy online in part because they want the convenience of ordering goods from home. If they receive their purchase and determine they need to return it, they must find packaging and then bring the items to a drop-off location. What was supposed to be an easy, seamless purchase has become a headache.
But as a seller, you have the opportunity to significantly reduce your return rates with better content and product data. Investing in quality content helps you sell more while reducing your return rates, which leads to higher customer satisfaction and greater customer lifetime value.
Optimizing Content to Reduce Return Rates
Your content is the ticket to minimizing returns and increasing customer satisfaction among your shoppers. Below we examine how you can reduce your online return rates with better content.
1. Optimize Product Imagery
In a market where e-commerce is king, you cannot overemphasize the importance of your product visuals. Shoppers want and need accurate, transparent, and accessible product images so they can learn as much as possible about the goods they’re purchasing.
The more informed a shopper, the less likely they will receive their goods and be disappointed or surprised. In a September 2021 report, 1WorldSync reported that 58% of returns resulted from product photography not matching the shipped product or leading to false expectations. Brands can combat these numbers with quality, informative and brand-driven product imagery.
Among trends shaping the product photography industry, 360-degree photography is rising in popularity. Modern spin imagery gives consumers a literal 360-degree view of a product. It’s the next best thing to holding an item in your hand. Brands utilizing spin imagery in their product content offer a more complete “picture” of their inventory. Consumers examine the items through crystal-clear imagery that leaves nothing to the imagination. Shoppers are well-informed of your products, which means there are no surprises upon opening their deliveries.
Optimized product visuals inform and educate buyers, so they know exactly what they’re purchasing. A well-informed and confident consumer is more likely to be happy with the product and is less likely to make a return.
And quality images do more than reduce return rates. 1WorldSync research found that brands and retailers who added 360-degree product imagery to their sites increased online conversions by as much as 47%. Your content significantly influences customer perception of your brand and your products. Investing in quality product visuals translates to an increase in customer trust and, therefore, an increase in sales.
2. Describe Products in Detail
Online shoppers rely on you to provide them with product detail that empowers them to make an informed, confident purchase decision. When you describe your products in specific, thorough detail, consumers know exactly what to expect when they order from you.
But misleading, inaccurate, or too little detail has the opposite effect. Too few product details don’t allow the shopper to know precisely what they’re buying, which can lead to disappointment or unmet expectations when they receive their order. In response, shoppers will quickly submit their order for return. 1WorldSync research shows that a general lack of product features or helpful information was to blame for 34% of online returns. Describing your products with an abundance of engaging, accurate and informative detail leaves little room for misunderstanding and reduces the likelihood of a return.
3. Provide Accurate Data
In a September 2021 survey, 1WorldSync examined the top product types for online returns. Our research team found that clothing and accessories made up the largest percentage share of customers who returned items. More than half of the customers surveyed –– 55% –– returned clothing purchased from an online store. We can attribute the majority of those returns to inaccurate sizing data.
Shoppers rely on your product content to give them an accurate understanding of your goods. 1WorldSync’s 2021 report, Consumer Perspectives on Online Returns, determined that 42% of all product returns are due to misleading or inaccurate product or feature descriptions. Accurate data keeps your customers happy and your return rates low.
Your data must truthfully and consistently represent your products. In an omnichannel market, this potentially poses a challenge to brands and sellers. Having a powerful PIM system ensures your product data and descriptions are consistent across channels, regardless of your inventory volume or the markets where you sell.
1WorldSync’s syndication and PIM solutions help you succeed in your market, increasing your sales while reducing your return rates. Our platform allows you to:
- Aggregate and Validate Product Data
- Streamline Workflows
- Comply with GS1 Standards
- Communicate with Trading Partners
- Prioritize Quality Product Content
Consistent, compliant product data and content ensures your consumers have the same experience with your brand and your products with every engagement and on every channel.
A Return Rate of 0%? Not Likely
Regardless of the accuracy of your data, the clarity of your images, or the quality of your product, as an e-commerce business, customer returns are a fact of life. Shoppers change their mind about what they want; this will always be true. And as long as consumers have the option for returns, they will utilize it. 1WorldSync found that 60% of online shoppers returned an item or received a refund for an online purchase in the last 18 months.
With this knowledge, brands and retailers should implement a robust, consumer-freindly return policy. When consumers know they can make returns, they will shop more confidently, and you’ll see greater loyalty from these shoppers in the long term.
Provide quality at every step of the buying experience so your customers won’t feel the need to return your products. But if they do –– and some inevitably will –– make the return process as easy as possible.
Your content shapes everything about your business –– including your return rates. With clear, informative, and quality content, you give your customers a full picture and complete understanding of your products. And the more they can know about their purchase, the more likely they’ll be satisfied when it arrives at their door.
1WorldSync offers the tools you need to confidently create, source, manage, deliver, and analyze your omnichannel product content. Our industry-leading tech coupled with our expert services result in personalized commerce experiences that drive more sales and reduce return rates for brands and retailers like yourself.
Contact our team today to learn how our products help you grow your bottom line while keeping product returns to a minimum.