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How To Reduce Customer Return Rates?

A woman receiving a parcel she bought from a delivery driver

We've all been there, returning items we bought. It's convenient for us as customers because it means we can test out new things and if they don't work, we can just send them back and get our money back.

But for businesses, dealing with lots of returns can be a headache. It's like having to handle a bunch of back-and-forth transactions every day.

While we can’t drop return rates to a complete zero, there are some steps we can take to reduce that number. I've got six great tips coming up that'll help reduce the hassle of handling returns. So, stick around!

Promote Exchanging Products

Encouraging your customers to exchange products rather than return them for a refund will only wipe out some of the costs linked to handling returns. Even with exchanges, you're still shelling out for return shipping and any work involved in processing returns. 

But, hey, it’s better than nothing right?

Why exchange? Well, because when you exchange instead of refunding, you hold onto the profit from the sale. That's cash in your pocket, which can seriously help your company's finances. Plus, exchanging gives you a shot at wowing the customer with another product, potentially winning their loyalty down the line.

Now, how you push for exchanges is your call. Some online shops use store credit for returns, laying it out in their return policy that they won't do cash refunds. But flat-out denying refunds might leave a lot of customers grumbling. I know because I've been one of them. 


Another route is nudging people towards trades through clever messaging or deals they can’t resist, like throwing in extra store credit.

For example, if the item being returned has a value of $80, you can offer a $100 store credit. This will make the customer more likely to opt for store credit instead.

Write Accurate Product Descriptions

A woman writing product descriptions on her laptop

One big reason why items bought online get sent back more often than the ones bought in stores is because you can't touch or see them up close before buying. That means it's easier to be disappointed when your online order arrives.

How do we combat this? Give super detailed and accurate descriptions of your products. When customers know exactly what they're getting, they're way less likely to feel let down.

For example, clothes: include size charts and guides so people can pick the right fit. You can even take it a step further by describing the fabric type. For furniture, give clear measurements. And for tech items, spell out all the specs. 

Basically, the more accurate, the better. This is to help people make the right choice from the get-go.

Display Multiple High-quality Product Photos

A woman taking high quality photos of her product using a camera

When it comes to showing customers what they're buying, nothing beats clear and detailed pictures. Make sure your product images are sharp and clear.

We human beings are very visual, you can describe it as much as you want but people are still going to want to see what the product looks like.

But don't stop there. We also recommend showing your product in action or next to everyday things so people can see how it fits into their lives. You can even throw in some videos to really give them a feel for the product.

With lots of clear photos that show your product in context, you'll help customers avoid any surprises when they finally get their hands on it.

Make Use of Your Product Reviews

A woman leaving a review on a site she recently shopped on

Customer reviews can be a significant boost for online shops. They give buyers an idea of what to expect from people who've already tried the product, which helps them decide if it's right for them.

But here's the deal: good reviews can also cut down on returns. When customers share details like how a shirt fits or if the color matches the pics, it helps others make smarter choices. And when they know exactly what to expect, they're less likely to send it back.

Invest in Protective Packaging

A man carefully wrapping up a product with paper before putting it into a box

Getting a broken item is a big reason why customers send products back when they shop online. You can't control every bump and jostle in transit, but you can make sure your stuff is packed up tight.

Use good, sturdy packaging to keep your products safe. If the item is fragile or easily damaged, add some extra padding or protection to the package. That way, your customers get their goods in one piece, and you'll have fewer returns to deal with.

Extend the Duration of Your Return Policy

Giving customers more time to send stuff back might seem weird at first, but it can actually cut down on returns for your online store. You see, when people feel rushed to decide if they want to keep something, they're more likely to send it back on impulse.

But if you give them extra time to think it over, they're more likely to stick with their purchase. You're giving them a chance to really get to know the product before they commit to keeping it.

Final Words

In a nutshell, reducing return rates for online businesses isn't rocket science, but it's definitely a game-changer.  

When you follow these tips, you're not only making life easier for your customers but also for yourself. Remember, happy customers are repeat customers, and that's what we're all aiming for in the end. 

So, take these tips, implement them wisely, and watch those return rates drop.


Well, aren’t we glad you asked! We at DigiCom are obsessive data-driven marketers pulling from multi-disciplinary strategies to unlock scale. We buy media across all platforms and placements and provide creative solutions alongside content creation, and conversion rate optimizations. We pride ourselves on your successes and will stop at nothing to help you grow.


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