Nothing is certain in the world of product sales aside from taxes (in most cases) and returns. As you start to sell more, your rate of product returns will increase accordingly.
Some analysts estimate that nearly one third of all online purchases are returned, a statistic that is even higher for brick and mortar locations.
What does this mean for your business?
Product returns erode profit margins. It doesn’t matter if you are offering free returns or not, any time a customer returns something it will negatively impact your bottom line. While it may be true that you can turn these potentially negative experiences into positive sales opportunities, your ultimate goal should always be to stop the bleeding from the source. This means reducing your product return rate.
Here are 3 creative ways you can reduce your product return rate starting today.
Create Reports to Identify Product Return Trends
Understanding customer behavior is the first step to reducing your product return rate. One way to effectively accomplish this is by creating reports to identify product return trends. Aggregating data in a single return management system helps improve your returns process from start to finish, turning every product return into a valid sales opportunity.
You can also use these reports to improve product quality, identify potential product enhancements or complementary offerings, and manage your inventory better to improve profitability outside of your product returns.
Empower Customers from Their First Purchase
Your customers want to feel a sense of empowerment when it comes to customer service. Just knowing that they can return your products quickly and easily signals peace of mind before and after they make a purchase. One way to assure them of the ease of customer service with your company is to setup an online customer portal.
Providing a place where your customers can login to update their account information or check the status of customer service requests is a great idea. It not only leaves a great first impression of your service operation but also highlights your passion for great service. It is a simple addition to your site that improves conversion rates and dramatically reduces product returns.
Gather Customer Feedback from Product Returns
Gathering customer feedback from product returns is important for so many reasons. While you may be able to use reports to help identify patterns and trends related to product returns, customer feedback is irreplaceable insight. It helps you understand why your products are being returned and how you can improve your sales and returns processes to reduce your product return rate and sell more products over time.
You can acquire this feedback in a variety of forms, but two great ways are post-return surveys sent via email and product feedback forms embedded directly on your site. You should also train your customer service representatives how to gather useful customer feedback on calls and through email. This will allow you to get feedback in real-time, which is always best.
Check out our recent blog post, “How to Use Returns Data to Improve the Customer Experience” for more great tips!