Tech

#ReturnsHappen on 50% of Holiday Orders – Here’s How Technology Can Change the Game

The holidays are in full swing, and whether or not e-tailers are prepared, that means it is also returns season. It’s an inevitable part of selling online because shoppers sacrifice the in-person experience in favor of the convenience factor. And though previous statistics showed a 30-35% returns rate, a new report shows rates as high as 50% this holiday season.

The fact is, Returns Happen. And depending on the category of product, returns happen up to half the time. This is due to a growing trend of try-before-you-buy, especially when it comes to apparel. The report, which was released by Fit3D, found $1.39 billion worth of clothing will be returned specifically due to issues of fit.

According to the findings:

  • 91% of shoppers have ordered clothes online that didn’t fit
  • Nearly half wouldn’t return to a brand if the clothes they received were the wrong size or didn’t fit
  • 89% of respondents were “likely” or “very likely” to return to a brand if the first item they ordered fit well
  • 84% of women feel that sizing is random or arbitrary

When you consider these statistics as well as the fact that 65% of returns are due to the fault of the retailer, it’s no surprise that 50% of shoppers anticipate returning products they buy online this holiday season.

Here is a look at the state of returns right now and what you can do to reduce returns to your store.

Cyber Monday’s Smash Success

Online retailers have cause to celebrate after this year’s Cyber Monday, which generated an unprecedented $7.9 billion in revenue. In fact, the whole weekend indicated a spending spree, with Thanksgiving pulling in $3.7 billion and Black Friday generating $6.2 billion, a 23.6% increase from last year. PayPal alone processed over $1 billion each on Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Adobe Analytics reported BOPIS (buy online, pick up in store) orders increased by 73% and showed a continued trend toward the fusion of ecommerce and brick-and-mortar. Over the weekend, however, traditional brick-and-mortar traffic decreased from last year as buyers shift their focus online.

The numbers made ecommerce history, and the flipside is a statistic that is just as staggering: 50% of shoppers will return products they bought online this holiday season.

Why Buyers Make Returns

More often than not, returns are the retailer’s fault. When you break down the reasons why consumers make returns:

  • 23% of returns are due to the wrong item received
  • 22% of returns are due to a product looking different
  • 20% of returns are due to a product being damaged

Two of these reasons, Wrong Item and Damaged Item, have easy solutions: a user-friendly shipping software and CRM combo that easily aggregates your data and gives you extensive information about your orders so you never miss another detail.

Especially when it comes to apparel, it is difficult to provide shoppers with information that is personalized to their fit preference and body type, so it makes sense that 22% of returns are due to a product looking different upon arrival than it did online. However, apparel e-tailers can include objective measurements, photos of a diverse range of models and even videos to more accurately showcase clothing and reduce returns. As mentioned previously, most shoppers base their decision to return to a brand on how their first orders fit.

The holidays may be the busiest time of year, but it’s not worth losing customers because of human errors with simple solutions. And if your customers must make returns, there are ways to make the process hassle-free for them—and you.

Keep reading to learn how to reduce your returns, improve customer loyalty and create a shopping experience that consumers want to come back to time and time again.

How to Reduce Returns

The numbers are daunting for sellers who dread the returns that eat into their profits. Buyers, too, are wary because they have likely experienced trying to return a product only to meet a disastrous returns policy. Therefore, the only way to appease both you and your customers is to revamp your returns policy.

Making your returns hassle-free is a smart business move for a number of reasons. For one, 80% of shoppers desire hassle-free returns, according to findings from UPS. It also encourages customer loyalty and promotes repeat buying, evidenced by Zappos’ customer base where 75% are repeat buyers. Finally, an easy returns policy offers second-chance sales opportunities, thus boosting total revenue when shoppers decide to buy.

The fastest way to refresh your returns policy is to integrate an automated returns portal similar to Amazon’s or Zappos’. The convenience saves you time and money, and it saves your customers the hassle. You’ll have a loyal customer base in no time.

No matter what you sell, #ReturnsHappen, but returns season will be a breeze now that you’re prepared.

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