How to Reduce Ecommerce Returns and Improve Customer Satisfaction
Updated: Apr 5
As with all retail sales, Ecommerce businesses have to deal with the dreaded item returns. By some estimates one third of ecommerce purchases will end up being returned to the seller. This is an inevitable part of doing business, but as an online seller, it is important to have an up-to-date understanding of your returns rate compared to others in your product category. If you sell many different types of products, it’s important to track returns and reasons for returns separately for different categories.
Walmart Marketplace has as its primary focus customer satisfaction. This can feel frustrating to sellers, who have little or no control over which items are refunded and why. It is absolutely crucial to keep track of your sales that have been refunded by Walmart.
Better yet, we have some best practices to help you reduce returns and to make the ones you receive less painful.
Of customers who provide a reason, the majority say that their returns are triggered because the product didn’t meet their expectation or the customer received the wrong item. Oftentimes this means the item size is wrong. Issues such as these can be greatly mitigated by optimization of your sales page.
Particularly with clothes – the more information on an item’s features, measurements and details can make a huge difference to returns. Many buyers practice ‘bracketing’ – buying two or three sizes of the same item with the intention of returning those that don’t fit. In other words, the purchase has a built-in return trigger. Sellers can help reduce this frustrating practice by providing accurate and extremely detailed sizing charts for your brands. Returns on clothing typically run at 40% of sales, and only about 10% of returns are available to resell – taking a huge chunk out of sellers’ pockets. Giving a potential buyer as much information as possible to make their choice and reduce the need for returns is a seller’s first, best way to reduce returns.
A great practice is to provide information on the size of the garment the model is wearing, as well as the model’s height and weight. Particularly for women’s clothing, where manufacturer’s sizes follow absolutely no standards, having a point of comparison can be extremely helpful. Sellers may also ask for buyers to provide information on how the clothes fit on their own height, weight, and body type to help future customers make better decisions.
Make sure product photographs are excellent. It isn’t just size issues that cause returns. Customers often return items because the colors and other details weren’t clear in the listing photos. Use listing images to show products in use, with close-ups of detail, and from a variety of different angles. Eight total photos is optimal for helping customers make an informed choice, but very few listings go beyond one or two.
Even the primary image, which must have the product isolated on a white background, should be clear, high resolution, and have true, vibrant color where applicable.
Use Photography to show the customer how to use the product, and how owning it will benefit them. An understanding of how a product will fit into the buyer’s life can create anticipation and reduce disappointment with the product received.
If you haven’t set up automated post-purchase emails for your Walmart shop, what are you waiting for? This is one of the most effective ways to keep customers informed about their purchase and create an optimal experience for the buyer. It also gives the seller an opportunity to have returns sent directly to the seller, rather than back into the huge, unwieldy Walmart machine.
Start with an order confirmation email sent immediately upon receipt of an order. This will give the buyer a point of contact if they realize they made a mistake in size, color or delivery address. Getting these mistakes corrected immediately can cut down on subsequent returns, complaints and lost packages.
Next, let the customer know when their items have been shipped. This communication reinforces the impression that the seller is the main contact for issues, rather than Walmart. It also keeps up anticipation of the order and keeps up excitement for delivery.
When you receive notification from the carrier that the customer’s package has been delivered, it’s a good time to send another email. You may want to wait 24 hours to make sure the package has reached the customer. This slight delay can avoid your answering question from customers whose package hasn’t yet hit their doorstep.
A fourth email can be scheduled to arrive about 7 – 10 days after package delivery. This one is a great opportunity to ask the buyer to leave feedback about their buying experience on Walmart. Let buyers know that their feedback is very useful in optimizing products and listings - and also know that a real person is listening! This may encourage the buyer to leave a product review. While great reviews are always a seller’s goal, they are actually just a bi-product of great customer service.
Every email can include a reminder to contact your customer service – rather than Walmart’s – to initiate returns and exchanges. Having more control over this process makes it more likely that you will receive back merchandise that may be re-sellable and can also give you invaluable insight into customer issues. Knowing more details about the reasons customers return your product can help avoid future customers having the same problems.
The emails sent to customers must obviously be automated. Using a features-rich tool like Sellegr8.com to manage your Walmart customer communication is a must. Sellegr8 allows Walmart 3rd party vendors to keep customers engaged in all phases of the buying cycle and
Reduce negative feedback and returns. The easy-to-use template builder allows you to design effective emails that communicate with customers in a positive, proactive way.
Since mid-2020 Ecommerce transactions have experienced unprecedented growth – bringing a huge increase in online returns. Returns are often a headache for merchants, taking working hours away from revenue producing activities and losing money on wasted merchandise. Every step that sellers can take to reduce returns and improve customer satisfaction at the time of the sale will save you major money and trouble down the road. Sellegr8.com can help Walmart.com sellers improve listing, keep in touch with customers, and keep track of returns on a granular, per product basis. Sellegr8 can also help address product issues by identifying SKU-specific refund patterns.
Go to Sellegr8.com for your free 14-day trial to see how this innovative software can help your Walmart.com business grow and thrive.
About the Author
Alon Saggie is an entrepreneur, Sellegr8's co-founder and a veteran eCommerce seller, who helps other sellers crush it on Walmart.com.