eCommerce May, 2024

How to minimise eCommerce product returns

Product returns are a fact of life in eCommerce. They not only cut into your profits but also require additional time and resources to process. The good news is that we know how to handle product returns efficiently, and we’re ready to share the secret with you.

Table of contents

There’re a few steps you can take to improve customer satisfaction and boost your bottom line.

Looking for product configurator eCommerce solutions to create a more immersive product experience that prevents returns? Mimeeq offers a variety of 3D modelling and product configuration services. Additionally, explore Mimeeq’s Shopify product configurator to enable a more interactive shopping experience for your visitors. test test

Understanding eCommerce product returns

A product return occurs when a customer sends back an item purchased online. There are many reasons why this might happen, but the most common are:

  • Clothing and shoes are particularly susceptible to returns due to inaccurate sizing information or a customer’s uncertainty about their correct size.
  • Inaccurate product descriptions, lack of detailed images, or a buyer’s misinterpretation of product features can lead to disappointment upon receiving the item.
  • Unfortunately, even with careful packaging, products can sometimes arrive damaged during shipping.
  • Sometimes, buyers simply decide they don’t want the product anymore.
Common reasons for product returns

While returns are a natural part of e-commerce, they can have negative impact on your business:

  • they eat into your profits because they require processing returns, potentially refunding money and often reselling the item at a discount;
  • there’re additional costs associated with returns, such as shipping fees and restocking;
  • it’s time-consuming;
  • cumbersome or slow the process can damage customer satisfaction and loyalty.

According to a recent study, the average return rate in eCommerce is 20-30%. This means that for every 100 items you sell, you can expect 20-30 returns. While this might seem daunting, the good news is that by implementing effective strategies, you can decrease product returns and improve your overall profitability.

Best strategies for minimising eCommerce product returns

Here’re some ways to minimise e-commerce product returns before using product configurators:

  • provide clear, concise and detailed descriptions of your products that accurately represent it.
  • allow customers to zoom in on product details and view the item from different angles.
  • customer reviews are a great way to build trust and give potential buyers valuable information about a product.
  • make sure your return policy is easy to find and understand. Clearly outline the return deadlines, any associated fees, and the steps in the return process.
  • customer reviews can provide valuable information on how well your products meet customer expectations.
  • communicate delivery times and costs.
View product in AR can help to minimise eCommerce returns

While product configurators have valuable benefits, combining them with these additional strategies creates a comprehensive approach to minimising returns in eCommerce.

Importance of product configurators in reducing returns

Effective product configurators can be a powerful weapon in your arsenal when it comes to combating product returns. These interactive tools allow customers to virtually customise products by selecting features, colours, etc. This level of personalisation goes a long way toward ensuring that customers get exactly what they want, greatly reducing the likelihood of product returns due to not meeting expectations.

By implementing product configurators in your online store, you can expect:

  • Improved understanding of product features: customers can see exactly what they're getting before they make a purchase.
  • Reduced sizing issues: configurable size charts and visualisation tools can help customers choose the perfect size.
  • Increased customer satisfaction: the ability to personalise your purchase empowers customers & leads to a more positive shopping experience.

Strategies for minimising eCommerce product returns with product configurators

Now that we’ve explored the capabilities of eCommerce product configurators, let’s dive into specific strategies you can implement to minimise product returns using this technology.

Enhanced product visualisation

One of the biggest challenges in eCommerce is accurately conveying a product’s appearance and functionality through a screen. Customers can’t physically touch or interact with the item, which can lead to misunderstandings and ultimately, returns.

Here’s how to solve this problem:

  • Interactive 360° views and zoom: shoppers can virtually rotate and zoom in on products, allowing them to inspect details and get a better sense of scale and texture. This level of detail goes far beyond static images and reduces the risk of customers being surprised by the appearance of the product upon receipt.
  • Multiple configuration options: product configurators allow customers to see how different options such as colours, materials, and finishes will look together. This eliminates the guesswork and ensures that they will be satisfied with the final product.

Personalisation and customisation 

The ability to customise products to meet individual customer preferences and needs is a powerful tool for reducing returns. When buyers feel that they have purchased a product that is unique to them, they are more likely to be satisfied and keep it.

  • Made-to-order options: for certain products, configurators can allow customers to choose customised sizes, materials, or features. This level of personalisation ensures that they receive a product that perfectly meets their needs and reduces the likelihood that they will be disappointed with a pre-configured option.
  • Expressing individual style: configurators can provide customers with the ability to personalise products to match their own creative style. For example, they can choose specific colour combinations, add custom engravings, or choose unique finishes. This ability to create a unique product helps to strengthen the emotional connection and reduces the number of returns due to generic offerings.

Real-time pricing and configuration validation 

Shopify product configurators offer more than just visuals; they can also simplify the buying process and reduce returns caused by errors or confusion:

  • Dynamic pricing: many configurators can display dynamic pricing based on customer selections. This allows customers to see the exact cost of the product, eliminating any surprises at checkout.
  • Real-time configuration validation: product configurators can also perform real-time validation. This means that the system checks the compatibility of different options as the customer selects them. For example, it can prevent a customer from choosing a chair leg style that won’t support the weight of a particular tabletop.
How to reduce product returns 

Interactive product selection and guidance 

Providing customers with the interactive tools they need to navigate the selection process is critical to minimising returns. Product configurators go beyond simply showing options; they can actively guide customers to make informed decisions.

  • Visualisation tools: configurators often include visualisation tools such as material swatches or mood-boards. These tools allow customers to see how different options will look in different environments, helping them make confident choices about colours, finishes, and styles.
  • Compatibility testing: as mentioned earlier, configurators can perform real-time compatibility checks.
  • Comparison tools: some configurators offer comparison tools that allow customers to view side-by-side comparisons of different configurations. This allows them to weigh the pros and cons of each option and make an informed decision.

Interactive product configurators empower customers to explore options, ask questions, and personalise their selections. This leads to a more satisfying shopping experience with fewer returns due to confusion or poor fit.