As an ecommerce store owner, one of the horrifying truths that every business owner has to manage is product returns.

A study from Business Insider suggests that 42% of US retailers have seen serial returners in the past one year, especially users aged 18 to 34. Around 70% of retailers say that the try-before-you-buy program increases the return rate. And 7 out of 10 retailers are not ready to adopt the try-before-you-purchase program. For many businesses, it is difficult to handle such a program as they don’t have a defined workflow. These returns can be a nightmare for your business and can have a strong negative impact on your sales and revenue.

For example, customers will order a couple of products to check out which color or size suits them and then place a return request for the remaining products. This will also have an impact on a buyer’s shopping behavior for costly items. But in many cases, the product returns occur due to mistakes committed by the retailers/sellers. Around 30% of purchasers purposely over-purchase and return the products that they don’t like, and 19% of customers accepted ordering multiple products so they can select the product by actually trying them.

Research by Business Insider gives details on how shoppers intentionally over-order and the actions taken by leading retailers to prevent serial returns.

The Costs Involved in Product Returns

So, how much does this item return scenario cost your eCommerce store?
• First and most important, you have lost a sale. Second, you lost a customer.
• The free shipping and return cost are investments that you need to pay from your pocket.
• You cannot put the returned items under the new products category. The product needs to be checked and moved to the resale category. Hence, these products cannot be sold for the actual price.
• The time spent on the sale, back and forth communication, returns authorization forms, returns processing, and the refunds don’t make sense now.
Importance of Customer Retention

Product returns slow down the growth of eCommerce considerably by causing churn. Everything boils down to one thing, customer retention, and acquisition. As a business owner, you need to understand that generating business from a new customer is more expensive than selling products to the existing customers.

What needs to be done to minimize the Return Rate?

Here we have listed out some of the best practices that you should integrate to your eStore to prevent return rates:
• Using user segmentation.
• Offering a flexible return policy can boost confidence and peace of mind to your customers.
• Using high-quality images of products.
• Giving 3D or 360-degree product preview.
• Integrating product reviews to assist users in making a better decision. PETCO, a retailer of pet products reported a 20.3% lower return rate by providing genuine reviews.
• Providing a feedback form to gather the details behind returning the product. If possible, try to compensate by providing a replacement or points for future purchases and so on.

Reduce Return Rate by Offering Product Customization:

Adding a new vertical to your business, such as offering custom products, can help ecommerce businesses to see a drop in return rates.

Businesses offering product customization reported a 40% drop in product return rates as the end-users know what they will be getting, and personalized product is close to their heart. Many merchants have also integrated product design software to their existing website to enable end-users to customize products by incorporating personal elements.

Product customization comes with rich analytics and dashboard through which merchants can monitor their custom product lines, and can figure out which custom elements are trending among the end-users. With the help of these data, a merchant can plan their business offerings.

Here are Some Other Benefits of Offering Product Customization:

• Improved customer loyalty
• Personalized experience
• Meaningful luxury items
• Cost-effective
• Generate more sales
• Fewer returns
If you are looking to offer customization for your products, iDesigniBuy’s product customization software is the best pick for you. Drop an email with your requirement at, and our expert will get back to you with a solution.

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Author's Bio: 

Vivek Ghai has over 18 years of experience in software services industry. He is the founder of a software company specializing in web and mobile application development. He has hands-on experience in operations, digital marketing and business development in the technology industry. He advises start-ups and also is a technical co-founder for few of them.