|Mon Dec 23 2013 21:58:53|
Could These Tactics Decrease Your Returns?
By: Julia Wilkinson
As much as a third of all Internet sales get returned, according to an article in today's Wall Street Journal. I was shocked to read the number was that high, although, of course, it was "as much as," which means that is the high end.
A couple of the causes stated in the piece were the lenient returns policies of companies such as Zappos.com and Amazon.com. (And some companies' return policies - such as REI and Orvis - are so generous that some people actually abuse the system to make money, as I blogged about a while back). But the Journal pointed out that companies are now data mining and taking proactive action to prevent so many returns.
For example, a retailer web site may keep track of how many returns a given customer makes, and if they do it a lot, they may ask questions such as "Are you sure you want that in a size Small and not Medium? The last time you ordered a size Small you returned it." (This is me paraphrasing the article's question, but that was the gist).
I must admit I chuckled when I read that. It sounded like the kind of question that would get a husband in big trouble with his wife (or vice versa) if he asked it.
But it is interesting to think about ways we as online sellers can obviate against returns. I can think of a couple. With clothing, of course, give measurements. And detailed ones. I noticed, for example, some customers ask for the sleeve length from armpit to end, or even armpit to armpit. There are a lot of measurements to think about besides just waist and length with clothing.
Another thing, and this would be particularly helpful with big-sized items to prevent shipping refunds: make sure the buyer knows exactly what they are getting. If you listed a major flaw in the listing and they bought it anyway, I know some sellers who would ask, "You do know it has X wrong with it, right?" before shipping it. If they do know, they would likely appreciate it being confirmed.
Another thing, and this is one I plan to do myself in the next few days, is to take a good video showing every angle and as up-close views as I can of the item, which in this case is a beautiful, ginormous, expensive art glass bowl, and showing it to the buyer. The bowl has a couple tiny specks, and I was asked if it had any "flea bites." I tried to show everything in the pictures, but I want to make sure the customer won't have a problem with the bowl when receiving it.
Have you thought of these kinds of tactics to prevent returns? How does your return rate look these days? Is it higher around the holidays? Post a comment here!
(Don't forget to email any holiday greetings, tree photos or even pet pix - with your store link - for our AuctionBytes Pinterest Board to me at firstname.lastname@example.org).