One critical element to the bottom line of all e-retailers is their returns system and policy. Sure, there are other things that factor in, too; like marketing, pricing, shipping cost and customer service. But for the sake of this article, we’ll focus just on returns and purely on apparel retailers online.
The truth is that online clothing returns are rampant. Over 34% of clothing that is purchased online will be returned by customers. To counter this, e-retailers need to have a strong system in place that helps them protect their bottom line and nurture their customers.
The following four suggestions, which are based off expert articles about online clothing returns, can help you get your return policy in place and working towards your benefit and long term goals.
Preventing and Reducing Online Clothing Returns
E-retailers have forever sought a way to reduce or prevent online clothing returns. There are actually a few things the industry has learned from doing this. We’ll share them in the following points.
- Integrate an apparel sizing app so that customers can get the right size the first time.
- Offer more detailed product descriptions that include sizing details and odd-size advice.
- Feature plenty of pictures with lots of angles and a zoom feature to provide more depth on how the clothing fits.
- Try to add videos of models wearing the clothing, so that customers can get an idea of what it would like on them.
Common Reasons Why Customers Make a Return
What are the most common reasons why customers place online clothing returns? You may find this surprising, but most of the time it’s because of something that you have done, not them.
Top reasons include:
- They got a damaged piece of clothing.
- The clothing did not fit properly.
- The wrong item was shipped to them.
- Item does not resemble what they thought they were buying online.
Why Your Returns Policy is Important
Of course, a very important part of managing and reducing online clothing returns is found in the returns policy that you offer. A return policy is actually read by over half your shoppers before they place an order. Here are some facts you can use to create yours.
- 80% of people want free return shipping and no restocking fees.
- 81% of people are loyal to stores that offer free returns.
- 61% of people will read your return policy.
- Over 90% are likely to recommend your store to another if you offer hassle-free returns.
- Free returns have been found to actually increase your profits in the long run and benefit your bottom line.
Tools for Managing Online Clothing Returns
Now that you are more educated about returns, what tools can you use to better manage them at your online store? Sites like Zappos set the bar high with automated and internalized returns systems. But most ecommerce store owners can’t afford such enterprise-grade software. A quick search for an alternative solution on Google finds TrueShip’s ReadyReturns online clothing returns software. Solutions like this one and others come in at a low monthly price and offer all the features you need to integrate an automated returns system into any online store.