Author: Armand Farsi, Director of the eCommerce Competence Center, Arvato
Let’s be honest: Based on German shopping habits, high return rates should be accounted for in every realistic fashion ecommerce business in Germany. However, there are ways to mitigate and control that pattern.
1. Understand your returns
Analysing returns forms and reason codes is essential.
2. Offer relevant product content
High-definition photos, zoom and rotate functions, detailed product descriptions and shoppers’ reviews are some of many measures to avoid the product not meeting the customers' expectations.
3. Manage your range according to the number of returns
Analyse which of your products exhibit high return rates with high sales shares. Then check how you can improve the presentation of the goods (see point 2).
4. Recognise shopping basket patterns
Returns also have negative consequences for the environment. Customers can be reminded of this with pop-ups, e.g. when selection (multi-size) orders are generated.
5. Guide payment method selection
Guide the choice of payment method through tactics such as incentivising low returns payment methods (e.g. credit card, PayPal etc.)
6. Check your shipping service
Click & collect orders generally have higher returns rate because customers can oversee to pick them up on time, the goods then go back as a return. Pro-actively inform and remind your customers of their orders. Another important factor is speed: The longer the consignment is in transit, the greater the probability of it being returned. Retailers can counteract this by promoting fast carriers or by subsidising express delivery.
7. Actively manage your customers
You can guide the behaviour of your customers within certain limits by rewarding non-returns. Other possibilities include charging for returns or providing information explaining the negative effects of returns on the environment.
8. Analyse the traffic channels and control your marketing budgets
Optimise your online marketing by using profitable channels with low return rates.