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How to minimise your customer returns

21 Mar 2019

Free returns policies are often now part and parcel of the service retailers provide to customers, but customer returns can be costly, particularly to smaller businesses and around Christmas, when rates tend to soar. Hallmark Consumer Services explains the actions you can take to help minimise your return rates, and how we can help ensure that your customers are making informed purchase decisions.

Main reasons for returns

Retailers receive returns for a number of reasons, with the top ones being because the item does not fit, it is not what the customer expected e.g. the colour, it is damaged, it has been ordered as a gift – and is therefore not expected by the customer, who may refuse delivery – and the address is incorrect. Though returns are a standard part of what retailers do, there are actions that can be taken to prevent the number of returns being made.

What can businesses do to minimise returns?

Businesses can take many steps to minimise returns, starting with ensuring that the returns process is a smooth as possible. Hallmark recommends that you should:

  • Offer an easy-to-understand returns system to ensure customer loyalty
  • Provide an extended period to return an item, which may lead customers to decide to keep it
  • Ask for the reason why the customer is returning the product on a pre-printed returns form, with their details on it (for your data records)
  • Highlight any quality issues to your manufacturer, if you are not the manufacturer of your products
  • Use addressing software on your website to ensure customers are using the correct delivery address to stop orders being returned due to incorrect addresses
  • Look at the quality of your product packaging, if products are getting damaged in transit, as cheap packaging used for shipping may not be robust enough
  • Consider sending emails on despatch to people receiving gifts to notify them that a gift is on its way, or add a label stating, “this is a gift,” to increase the chances of them accepting the delivery

Other actions you can take

  • Ensure your website uses clear, high quality images of your products so that customers can get a good idea of colour and dimensions before purchasing
  • Make size selection easy and clear on your website to avoid any confusion
  • Publish positive reviews about your products on your website to showcase good customer experiences
  • Try and be clever with your marketing.  Don’t market to serial returners and reward loyal customers with better offers.  If you do want to market to serial returners, offer them a deal on low risk items

How can Hallmark help?

Hallmark works closely with our clients to determine how they can streamline their returns processes and conducts client profiling to analyse returns data and identify patterns, reasons for returns and which of your products are high risk. We can also identify what type of customer is returning goods, from serial returners, to customers who over order and send back unwanted items, and loyal customers who rarely return an item. This can help you to ensure that your customers are well-informed when making purchasing decisions, so you can tailor any marketing and communications accordingly.

Get in touch

For friendly chat about how Hallmark can work with you to minimise your customer returns, please call us on 01664 485 000 or send us an online enquiry here.

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