Returns can be a major headache for eCommerce businesses. Customers often receive their items and find that they no longer want them, or sometimes they purchase the wrong size, color, or style.
In either case, many customers will try to return these items to the business that sold them in the first place.
As an eCommerce merchant, you may feel like you’re stuck between a rock and a hard place when it comes to returns: if you don’t accept returns from your customers then you sacrifice customer experience, but if you do accept returns then there’s a chance that some of those customers are committing fraud against your store by ordering products with no intention of paying for them!
In this blog post, we’ll talk about how to prevent retail return fraud while still making everyone happy with your service.
Reasons customers return products and how to avoid them
There are many reasons as to why a customer would return a product they’ve ordered and received in the mail.
Ordered wrong size
Buying the right size is also stressful if the store does not provide a clear and helpful size chart. Have a size chart in every product page especially if you are selling shoes and clothes. It is not enough to use S, M, L, and XL variations. Indicate the size in inches or centimeters.
Products may seem smaller or bigger than in the image you put in your product page. You can include a size reference in the photo if you are selling small items. For example, if you are selling a pendant, include a coin in the picture beside it.
Customer does not want the product anymore
This change of mind usually happens when there is a new upgraded product the buyer prefers more or they had a change in personal life that they no longer need the products. Mostly, these products are smartphones, appliances, and other high-ticket gadgets.
Another possible reason is that customers make impulsive purchases on impulse, but would change their minds afterward. To prevent this, you can offer returns on your products, but only if the customer contacts you within a specific time period.
Wrong color or design for intended use
Products in images may seem different in person. For example, if a customer orders a shirt with a specific color and design, they would expect you to provide them with that exact color and design. If your product doesn’t match what you’ve promised, they may return it.
In every image you post, write a disclaimer saying the products may have a slightly different color due to lighting when the photo is taken. The colors may also be different based on the resolution or screen settings of the buyer’s device.
Product is not of good quality
If your product is of bad quality and the buyer knows this before making payment, they will most likely return it. Make sure to provide great customer service and make your product worth every penny.
Product arrived broken or damaged
If your product arrives damaged, a customer will most likely want a refund. In order to prevent this, you can use a delivery service that safely delivers the products.
Look for a fulfillment service provider that has a positive track record. Read reviews of their customers and consider their terms and conditions regarding damaged parcels.
There are customers who claim that the items they receive are damaged but they actually want to send back a different item and keep yours without payment.
This returns fraud has been hurting retailers. Not only have they lost money for refund, but they also lost their product. You can also ask for an unboxing video to ensure that the items they receive are in the same condition when you packed them.
Add a policy that if they can’t provide an unboxing video, you will not give refunds or entertain returns.
Product arrived too late
During the shipment process, parcels tend to wait at the recipient’s local postal office or customs depending on their origin and destination. If these mail services don’t deliver parcels on time, customers might need to wait a long time in order to get them which can lead them to return it.
Get to know the FedEx, UPS, and USPS delivery times to give your customers a realistic expected date of delivery.
What to include in a return policy?
It’s important to keep in mind that there is no one-size-fits-all return policy. Each eCommerce business will have different requirements and restrictions, so it’s best not to just use the same policy as everyone else. You can always create a basic design for your own store and adjust the policies as necessary.
When creating your return policy, take the following into account:
1. The refund policy should be communicated to the customer upfront and easy to find on your website.
2. You must offer a fair and reasonable amount of time for the customer to return the product.
3. Be sure that you state whether or not there is a requirement for a receipt. It is best to allow returns only if the original tags are attached.
4. The goods returned must be in the same condition as they were sold. If this is not so, you should refuse the return and prompt them to send it back.
Ask for an unboxing video showing how they opened the sealed parcel. This will show the condition of the items they received and if there are any missing parts.
Nowadays, it is easy to take a video and customers are usually willing to comply since in case there are indeed damaged items, the video ensures that they can return it in exchange for another item or ask for refunds.
Accepting returns is a good way for retailers to retain their customers and create lasting relationships with those who continue shopping at their stores. It’s important to implement a policy that protects your business from return fraud without sacrificing customer experience.