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5 Healthy Practices for E-commerce Businesses to Decrease the Return Rate

Updated on December 4, 2019
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Shubham is a freelance writer for hire and works closely with B2B and B2C eCom companies. He is HubSpot certified in inbound marketing.

Product returns are an absolute nightmare. They drain budgets, hinder workflows and can cost you your customers.

Stopping product returns altogether is difficult, but it can be reduced.

Some simple tweaks on your website and marketing strategy can drastically improve customer satisfaction.

Here are six tips for you to employ in your business for reducing the number of product returns.

1. Use Interactive Product Visualization

Let people inspect your product from multiple angles. Often, simple images don't cut it. According to research, 22% of customers return a product because it looks different from what they expect it to be.

Interactive product visualization helps the customer set the right expectations so that they can make informed purchases, leading to lesser product returns.

Instead of using multiple images of the product, you can use a 360° image or a 3D rendered model of your product.

Augmented reality and interactive product visualization are seemingly new trends in the E-commerce industry. Online websites are trying their best to give their users an in-store experience.

Through the Amazon app, customers use the cameras on their phones to see how the products will look inside their homes.

2. Add more description

The lack of adequate description creates confusion for the customer. Make sure to put all the relevant and necessary details about the product on the product page.

Mention the material, fabric, texture, colour, battery life, storage capacity and anything that best describes your product.

But what is important for your customer to know? Product reviews will give you great insights. Your customer care and sales team can also collect data regarding this.

If your website fails to resolve the doubts of the customer, they will either delay the purchase or won't purchase from your website at all.

3. User-generated FAQs

The idea is to dedicate a separate section for customer Q/A on the product page. Here, the customer can ask questions about the product and get answers from the previous buyers and seller of the product.

Major e-Commerce websites like Amazon and Walmart do this.

These questions make up for any missing information in the product description.

And being user-generated, these questions and answers instil more trust in the users than any claims from the sellers can.

4. Sending after-sale data-driven emails

It's a kind of after-sale service that involves sending data-driven emails that reaffirm the purchase decision of the customer.

You can send links to blog posts to your customers, where they can learn about the best use of the product they just bought.

And if you don't want to do this with each product that you sell, take a targeted approach and identify the products that have a high return rate.

When a customer buys one of these products, send them a thank-you email with a link to a blog post that will reaffirm their purchase.

For example, if a customer buys a vegetable peeler from your website, send them a link to this article- "8 Awesome Ways to Use a Vegetable Peeler". This article will teach them about what they can do with the peeler, apart from peeling vegetables.

5. Don't misrepresent product images

Use high-quality product images, use close-up shots, but do not falsify the product images.

Use real images without filter and deliver what your promise.

Don't apply deceptive tactics. Otherwise, you can't stop your brand from being trolled, and the pictures of your product may end up in a hilarious expectation vs reality blog post.

6. Use good packaging

Research says, 20% of the customers received damaged products, and thus they have to return the damaged items.

So, take proper precautions while packaging your product. Don't cut corners in the name of cost-saving. If a product gets damaged while shipping, you will be paying for the shipping two times (delivery and return), and the cost of repair or liquidation of the product itself.

Check out this guide for properly packaging the product to ensure its safe delivery.

Once the product leaves your warehouse, you will have to depend entirely on the finesse of your delivery service to deliver the product in one piece.


It costs five times to acquire a new customer than to retain an old customer. By improving the customer experience, a brand can automatically reduce the return rates.

You can't completely put a stop to product returns because there will always be one customer who has a genuine reason to return the product.

But you can certainly reduce the return rates by-

  • Using interactive product visualization on your website

  • Beefing up the product description page

  • Letting customers interact with each other through user-generated content

  • Delivering what you promise

  • Using data-driven emails to validate the purchases of your customers

  • Saving your product from being damaged during transportation and handling

Was this post helpful to you? Do you have any tips to share? Let me know in the comments below.


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