Fewer returns with good product descriptions, product images and feedback from real buyers
Returns are a big cost for e-tailers, who of course do everything to reduce the return rate as much as possible. But generally, it’s about the pre-purchase expectations, says Jonny Hansen, COO at Lipscore.
Returns are both an economic and environmental problem
The rapid growth of e-commerce means more transport, more packaging, and more returns. It affects the company’s finances because returns are costly. It also affects the environment. This has boosted a widespread sustainability thinking. Many online retailers work actively to reduce unnecessary transports and try to find more efficient ways to handle returns.
The return rate for products bought online is approximately three times as high as the return rate for products bought in a physical store. «It’s natural», explains Jonny. «In physical stores, customers can ask questions and try the products. When selling online, it’s important to deliver enough good information for the customer to be able to make a good purchase decision. Without being able to physically see or touch the product. »
It’s all about pre-purchase expectations
It’s just about aligning expectations. Making sure they reflect the reality. Customers who get what they expect don’t make returns as often. «Many e-tailers have good product descriptions and product images. If you add a large amount of product reviews showing that other customers’ experiences match the product information in the shop, then it’s almost impossible to do better » Jonny explains.
And this is precisely where solutions such as Lipscore come in handy. «Actually, it doesn’t matter what rating a product gets » he continues. «If the customer chooses to buy a product that received a low rating, the customer knows this before buying. And then the expectations are not that high. »
Ask questions about product features
In many industries, it also makes sense to ask follow-up questions. Questions that give the customer the opportunity not only to give an overall rating, but also to tell something specific about the product’s characteristics. It can be about how you experience the size, the fit, the material, the quality or something else. Information that is very useful for both the seller and potential new buyers. «It gives other customers the chance, based on the reviews, to choose a larger or smaller size and thus get a garment or a pair of shoes that fits. » Which of course ultimately leads to fewer returns.
At Lipscore, this feature is called Product Attributes, and the ability to let customers rate multiple aspects of a product is used by several e-tailers. Above all, those who sell clothes and shoes. «If you have good and honest product descriptions and reviews from customers where you’ve asked follow-up questions about size, etc. you’ve basically done everything you can » Jonny states.
Transparency leads to drastically reduced returns
More and more of Lipscore’s customers choose to use Product Attributes with extended product questions because they want to give customers the best possible product information before purchase. «Of course, there are still customers who simply make a mistake when ordering, but it’s a very small percentage. The conclusion is that openness and transparency lead to drastically reduced returns » says Jonny.
Reducing returns naturally has many positive effects. Among other things in the form of more satisfied customers, less administration and handling, fewer transports back and forth and a lower environmental impact. Not to mention the financial aspect. Apart from optimizing product information and aligning expectations, e-tailers naturally also need to work on more efficient return processes to reduce the costs associated with a return.
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