Returns and refunds are stuff nightmares are made of.
About 20-40% of your sales are returned, but Amazon wants its sellers to keep the ratio under 10%. This means that reducing returns isn’t an option for you; it’s a necessity. If left unchecked, they can eat up all your profits and ruin the reputation of your brand. Fortunately, there are several things you can do to bring that ratio down. Here are a few tips you can apply to dramatically lower your return ratio.
Tip #1: Identify what went wrong
Gathering data on why shoppers have returned your product can help you eliminate the guesswork and eliminate the situation effectively. Most of us think that when a product has a higher return ratio, there’s something wrong with the product itself. But it’s just your assumption and you can be totally wrong. Maybe it’s the images that are misleading the buyers, or they didn’t receive the correct product, or the product they received was damaged. Once you’ve known the reasons for returns, half of your work is done and you can be assured that you’re in the right direction. However, collecting data on previous returns is easier said than done. You will have to contact each and every buyer and ask them the reason for returning the product. Some will reply, most will not. Yet don’t stop collecting data. If you find yourself too busy for doing this, hire Amazon experts or use a tool.
- Gathering data on previous returns helps you identify the flaws.
- This information can be crucial to make future business decisions and ultimately reduce returns.
- Although it sounds like too much work, don’t move ahead without this step.
Tip #2: Feed your shoppers with crucial information before they make a purchase
Lack of information is one of the biggest reasons for increased returns. Adding crucial information to your listing is just as vital as adding keywords. Vague or incomplete bullet points, confusion description, leads to a mistakenly-done purchase and ultimately returns. To keep your listing copy informative, make sure it contains the following:
- Package information
- Color (especially if your product is in variation)
- Size / dimensions
- Warranty/guarantee information
- How to use information
- Care & maintenance
At the same time, ensure that you don’t oversell the products. Fancy descriptions might close the sale, but they often lead to return and negative customer experience. Always remember that your shoppers don’t want to be surprised by any detail of the product. Use a tightly written copy with a tad of emotions and storytelling to keep things interesting. Don’t DIY everything. Outsource Amazon listing optimization for best results.
- Add all the crucial information such as material, size etc. in your listing copy
- Be sure not to oversell the features of your product. Be realistic
Tip #3: Add informative images
We already know shoppers don’t usually read the listing content, so all the crucial information mentioned above should also be there in your images. Using Amazon infographic images is one of the best ways to make the complicated product information easy to read and digestible. Along with that, be sure to add several HD quality photos of your product so your shoppers can have a better idea of what they’ll be receiving.
- Use lifestyle images with a real model so shoppers can gauge the size of the product
- Take several closeup shots of the product to highlight specific features
- Take photographs from all the angles – front, back and the sides
- Use tables, charts & infographic images to help shoppers decide what’s right for them
- Show an image showing intended uses of the product
- Size your image at 1500 x 1500 pixels to provide zoom capability
Pro tip: Take things a step further with Enhanced Brand Content to showcase your product details in depth.
- Add as many photos as you can to explain shoppers the size, installation instruction, use etc.
- Related posts: Amazon Image Requirements 101
Tip #4: Take it up a notch with product videos
If a picture is worth 1000 words, videos are probably worth 1000000 words. These days, videos aren’t just for name-brands; every other Amazon seller has a video on their listing and why not? Videos not only positions you as a trustworthy seller but it also a great tool to educate the shoppers (even better than infographics!). Sellers don’t invest in videos considering it pricey, but at least they know that it’s an investment that will give you dividends for years to come. Videos are particularly helpful while showing assembly instructions or product functions. High-quality visuals encourage the shoppers to imagine having the product and could help with the “product received looks different” review.
- If applicable, create an assembly video and a video showing the product features
Tip #5: Include a detailed sizing guide (not optional)
Ensure that none of your negative reviews or customer returns say, “It didn’t fit!!” Accidently purchasing the wrong size is a guaranteed return. While it’s next to impossible to have zero sizing errors, you can significantly reduce them by adding a size chart with dimensions in inches or centimeters. As an extra step, you can also show your buyers how they can find their correct size. Always remember, the more you make their decision making the process simpler, the more likely they are to purchase from you (even if your product is priced higher than your competitors).
- Add a sizing guide to reduce the “didn’t fit” returns. Also, help customers how they can find their correct size.
Tip #6: Ever heard of serial returners?
Serial returners are shoppers who purchase multiple sizes and colors of the products just to see what fits better or what looks good and then return most / all of them. This practice not only increases your costs but also increases your average return ratio, triggering Amazon to take action (on no fault of your). To protect yourselves from such serial returners, analyze every return and identify them. Even though it’s a tedious process, it will save you from a lot of headaches in the future. After that, the best thing you can do is block them from buying your products. You can also clearly state this in your return policy and send a polite email notifying such individuals.
- Analyze your return data and find shoppers who return in bulk. Send a polite email requesting not to do so.
Tip #7: Learn from your negative reviews
Every cloud has a silver lining and every negative review has something to teach you. Read them carefully and identify what triggered them to leave a bad review and return the product. If you find a recent 1-star review that could potentially lead to returns, address them right away and make every effort to improve their buying experience.
- Read your negative reviews carefully and identify what was the reason for their bad experience.
- At the same time, contact buyers with recent negative reviews to reduce potential returns.
Tip #8: Competitive price = lower returns
When your product is priced competitively, shoppers will consider keeping your product even if they aren’t absolutely thrilled with it. Reason? Because they haven’t spent enough to feel the regret or need to return the product. With great price comes great expectations. For instance, imagine buying $80 shoes from Nike and $30 shoes from a 3rd party Amazon seller. When you purchased the shoes from the Amazon seller, you weren’t expecting a super high-quality shoe anyway. Even if they don’t fit great, the level of disappointment is low. However, with Nike, things have changed. You have paid double the amount and now your expectations are 10 times higher. If a little bit of color is faded from the sole, there’s a high chance you’ll be returning the shoes and leave a negative review.
- Keep your price competitive to reduce your return ratio.
Wrapping it up….
Returns and refunds are part and parcel of selling online. But they surely can be reduced. By implementing the above tips, you can prepare your Amazon store for fewer returns and better profits. If all of these sound too much work for you, you can always take expert help from eStore Factory’s Amazon consulting services. Let our Amazon Consultants do all the grunt work while you sit back and watch the profits and positive reviews roll in!