Impulse or opportunistic purchase behavior
“The internet made me buy it.”
We all have similar excuses to explain our impulsive online shopping behavior. Unfortunately, this conduct leads to a significant number of returns. In fact, 30% of shoppers deliberately over-purchase and return unwanted products.
It’s safe to say that online shopping makes it so much easier for consumers to find products they think they’ll absolutely love to, well, return them in the end.
What drives post-purchase anxiety that makes your customers ask for a refund before the package even arrives at their doorsteps?
- The product is taking too long to arrive due to shipment exceptions.
- No order tracking service to keep customers informed.
- Unresponsive customer support team due to too many WISMO inquiries.
You can solve all of the above by implementing an order tracking solution that lets customers know the whereabouts of their package, any order status updates (preferably in real-time) while taking some pressure off your customer service team as well!
Incorrect or lacking product description
40% of online purchases are returned, in fact, due to sizing issues. Moreover, if the color looks different in real life than the product image you have on your website, this might also lead to your customers returning the product.
As a matter of fact, two in three shoppers agreed that they would be less likely to return an item if they’re able to see user-generated content or reviews prior to buying the product. Keeping these facts in mind, you might want to consider updating your product descriptions, images, even videos or 360-degree overviews to create an accurate portrayal of the item.
Bracketing or wardrobing
These practices were not uncommon in the early days of online retail, however, they truly took off in 2020, as a consequence of the pandemic that took from people the freedom to shop in-store and try on outfits as they please.
Bracketing and wardrobing marked the retail fashion industry these past couple of years, as more and more people want to show off different outfits both online and in real without having to pay the price of their actions. “Renting” apparel items from fashion retailers and returning items to receive a full refund took a toll on these eCommerce businesses.
Simply put, these consumers would purchase clothes online, wear them a couple of times and then return them for a refund. So what can you do? Luckily, products like 360 ID Tag make it easier to keep track of what’s been worn and which customers are trying to take advantage of your return policy.
This combined with a solution such as WeSupply’s Return Policy Enforcer that lets you ask a simple yes/no question to ensure the item is eligible for returns, you’ll be able to prevent this type of behavior while making the returns process more efficient for legitimate customers.
Damaged or defective items
Mistakes happen, and products often get damaged during transportation. Other times items are simply defective because of the manufacturing process— maybe materials or parts were assembled erroneously, wires and circuitry were not properly installed, and so on. In these cases, customers can rightfully demand a return and exchange or refund, depending on the circumstances. Some of the most common reasons why your products arrive damaged at your customer’s doorstep are:
- Unfavorable warehouse conditions
- Mishandling by courier
- Inappropriate road conditions
- Human errors
- Adverse weather conditions
To avoid this as much as possible, try choosing the right-size packaging (i.e., boxes), find a reliable courier that ships domestically or internationally, depending on your needs. and consider getting shipping insurance.
The product was a gift
Did you know that, in 2020, 10.6% of holiday gifts (about $428 billion in value) were returned? Keeping up with the increased customer demand during peak return season is challenging for many retailers, particularly when it comes to online purchases, and we know that a lot of customers might be looking for an extended return policy in case they need to return gifts purchased online.
What was traditionally known as ‘National Returns Day’ became National Returns Week, with an average of 1.75 million packages returned for five days in a row during the week of January 4, 2021. This only proves that returning gifts is a very common reason why retailers see an increase in the number of returns shortly after the peak holiday shopping season. Since this has happened every year so far, there’s little to no doubt at all that 2022 will have the same fate.
Online returns are, indeed, more complicated than in-store returns due to the necessity to track orders while also dealing with return fraud and abuse. This is why return policies are a must in helping you manage online retailer customer expectations. If you need help with your return policy, check out our free Return Policy Generator here!