Ecommerce Returns Statistics for 2018

 In Ecommerce, Spotlight

If you run an ecommerce store, you’re spending your time right now bracing for the pre-holiday and holiday shopping rush.

During this essential time, there’s plenty to do. You have to look into your products, for example, and be sure your marketing is on-point. You’ve also got to evaluate your returns policy and ensure it’s up to snuff.

This latter is critically important.

After all, returns are a part of ecommerce and ensuring you have one of the best return policies in your industry can go a long way toward making your brand as trustworthy and desirable as possible.

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5 Ecommerce Returns Statistics You Should Know

Wondering what ecommerce returns look like today? Here are ten 2018 Ecommerce Returns Statistics you should know:

1. 80% of Shoppers are Deterred by Inconvenient Returns

To put this simply: customers won’t do business with you if you don’t “wow” them with your returns policy. If they buy from you once, try to return something, and find it to be a hassle, they won’t shop with you in the future, and they’ll advise their friends to follow suit.

2. 65% of all Returns are the Merchant’s Fault

Whether it’s an incorrect size, an item that doesn’t match the previous description, or something that arrives broken, 65% of all returns are due to something the merchant did, rather than something the client has done. This adds a new level of importance to the returns experience. After all, companies should hustle to fix the mistakes they’ve made!

3. 66% of Customers Check Return Policies Before Making a Purchase

While the return policy used to be something retailers kept tucked down at the bottom of some obscure page somewhere, this approach won’t work anymore. Today, about 66% of consumers check a company’s return policy before making a purchase. This means your policy must be up to snuff if you want customers to shop confidently.

4. Only 11.8% of all Returns Ship Free

This is compared to 75% of ecommerce purchases. While this is a sobering statistic, it’s also a great way to stand out in the world of ecommerce returns. If you can offer free return shipping in an area where your competitors don’t, you’ll have a leg-up in the industry in no time.

5. 81% of Customers Want Hassle-Free Shipping

Simplicity, low-cost, and experience are essential in the modern world of ecommerce return shipping.

If you can nail these three things, you can trust that you’re doing a good job catering to your customers’ needs. Think of companies like LL Bean and REI, both of whom have become famous for their easy and expansive returns policies.

Again, simplicity is everything. Because of this, many small companies with limited in-house resources use cloud-based shipping solutions to help them automatically scan returns, create shipping labels, and process customer inquiries.

Making Returns Work for You

While no online retailer loves the idea of returns, it’s true that they offer an outstanding opportunity for ecommerce companies.

When you take proactive steps to reduce the rate of online returns and understand the consumer mindset as it relates to your returns, you can not only create a larger plan to retain customers and make sales, but adjust your return policy so that when returns do happen, your customers walk away from the experience and rave about it.

Right now, about 30-35% of all products ordered online will be returned by customers. While the reasons for these returns vary, about 65% of all returns are the retailer’s fault.

Short of ensuring you send the right product out to customers, and that the items you send match their descriptions, though, what can you do to ensure your returns stay as low as possible? Here are a few tips to help you get started.

  • Offer Free Return Shipping. 79% of customers want free return shipping. In a world where nobody wants to pay for shipping at online stores to begin with, you can bet that customers won’t be that happy about spending good money to send an item back. With this in mind, offer free return shipping and include a prepaid return label in the packaging for each item you sell.
  • Offer Digital Returns. 80% of customers want hassle-free returns, and rightfully so! Nowadays, virtually everything is digital, and customers want to be able to take control of their online returns, as well. Consider stores like Amazon and Zappos, which have stepped up to provide the return policies customers need. Follow suit to ensure your customers aren’t turned off by your returns policy. Remember – 82% of customers won’t buy from you again if the returns process isn’t easy. Keep this in mind as you create your returns policy.
  • Banish Restocking Fees. Restocking fees should have no place in your online ecommerce strategy. For best results and to keep your customers engaged, get rid of restocking fees. More than 50% of customers hate them, and imposing them on your clients is enough to drive people away forever.

The Future of Ecommerce Returns

As ecommerce continues to grow, the world of ecommerce returns will blossom, as well. Because of this, it’s essential for companies to take proactive steps to get onboard now. There are dozens of benefits to this. Not only does revamping your ecommerce returns program help you stand out from the competition, but it allows you to offer better service to your customers.

While ecommerce returns can cut into profits and most companies focus on preventing them, there’s another way: focusing on making the returns experience as positive as possible when it does happen. Simple things like free returns shipping, no restocking fees, and a digitized returns process can go a long way to ensure that you’re leading the pack when it comes to customer satisfaction and retention!

Need even more tips? Take a look at this infographic we’ve created for even more 2018 statistics about ecommerce returns.

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Turn visitors into conversions with ReadyCloud CRM powering your customer relationships. We think all online retailers deserve a cross-channel CRM. That’s why the first 2 weeks are on us!

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