“Return” Apocalypsis and what to do about it
As a lot of shops and stores enabled online shopping, online returns also have become more common. Now, shoppers consider a return as an insurance policy. As statistics claims, the percentage of online returns has become 15 to 40%, while the return rate in offline shopping is 5 to 10 percent. However, for the stores, it is a big challenge as they can lose up to 20% of the product value if they can’t restock it. On average, returns cost businesses 10% of their total supply chain costs. Besides the financial side of the issue, E-commerce is at an environmental cost, as just a simple return transporting elicits 15 million metric tons of carbon emissions per year. Moreover, the packaging is also harmful: Amazon generated 465 million pounds of plastic waste in 2019.
So, what is the solution? How can retailers avoid returns?
- Write a complete description of each product. It is also good to provide videos and pictures, as 93 % of the customers state that visuals are the most important factor when deciding whether to buy a product.
- Provide user-generated feedback and images. About ⅔ of potential buyers say that they are willing to buy a product after reading other customers’ feedback
- Companies like Amazon, Walmart, and Target prefer customers to keep an unwanted item even after the refund to minimize the environmental harm.
- Educate shoppers about the harm that is done to the environment if there is a refund. Of course, some refunds are inevitable but this will at least decrease its levels.
- Retailers should be more responsible and precise. They should also build trustworthy relationships with their shoppers. That’s how customers will know exactly what to expect from the purchase and the levels of returns will decrease.