How to Reduce your Return Rate
The news is even worse for specific ecommerce categories:
20% of apparel and soft goods are returned
50% of expensive items purchased online are returned
Higher return rates are generally associated with categories that offer expensive, fit-sensitive, and highly visible items.
Online retailers are encouraged to drive sales by offering generous Returns Policies- such as Free Returns- but if such a strategy is introduced without some serious forethought, you could end up driving online sales for No Return- pardon the pun!
Shopify identify the below 3 factors that plague ecommerce retailers. Factors that can be mitigated against by considering the use of some excellent ecommerce product photography:
Size- it doesn't fit, or doesn't fit how the they believe it ought to. You can't ensure the garment will fit everyone to their taste. And you can only encourage your customer to use your sizing information to prevent returns. But what you can do is give them much more information on how the garment will fit. For example, go beyond mannequin images and show the garment on a live model at all angles. A 360 Spin of a model from 360 Crew will ensure seams and fit can be viewed at all angles- shoulders, hips, waistline etc.
Expectations- the purchased item may actually do what it is supposed to do but simply does not live up to the online product description or the marketing that convinced your customer to purchase in the first place. Research has shown that two-thirds of all stimuli reaches the brain through the visual system and 80% of all communication is nonverbal. If you want to convey product information to your online shopper, it needs to be visual. If you want to reduce returns due to unmet expectations, you need to invest in good product photography that allows the customer to zoom and see the product in excellent detail.
Product images- 22% of returns, according to one Shopify vendor, are due to a product appearing differently in person than it does in a picture. High quality product images can not only boost sales but may also help you avoid returns from customers disappointed by the difference between the image and the actual product. If you are using still images, ensure they are high quality and zoomable. Or up your game and opt for 360° Spin photography. Again Zoom and all angle view are a must here.
Mobile Experience- this is a relatively new one. Poor mobile experience is being blamed for amn increase in overall return rates as customers find it difficult to choose sizes and view product images on mobile devices. A good mobile experience is now a necessity. Ensure your images allow swipe to spin, tap and pinch gestures, true full screen and bigger icons for easy tapping.
By all means drive online sales with lenient returns polices, but ensure you have an online store that is structured to deal with such a policy. Reduce returns (by 30-50%) by employing high quality zoom and 360° Spin Photography. The cost of one will more than cover the cost of the other.