Returning online fashion purchases hurting your eCommerce profits

Returning online fashion purchases hurting your eCommerce profits? Try these tactics now.

When a shopper orders any fashion product online, multiple factors affect their purchasing decision—color, size, material quality, price, make, and the convenience of returning a product.

This ‘no-question asked’ return policy gives assurance to shoppers, resulting in higher orders. However, every returned order hurts the profitability of online brands.

Especially for small businesses, cash burnt on packaging, delivery, and warehousing of a returned order significantly impacts the profits, increasing costs by as much as 21% of a product’s order value while raising environmental concerns. 

Only in the US, annual carbon dioxide emissions from transporting returned goods are almost equal to having 3 million more cars on the road!

With online shopping growing rapidly and customer experience becoming a driving factor, returns are not going to reduce anytime soon.

According to a survey by the National Retail Federation and Appriss Retail, in 2021, average eCommerce return rates in the US jumped to 20.8%, with an estimated $671 billion worth of goods being returned.

To counter this concern, a study by Nosto (the commerce experience platform) suggested practical tactics every apparel brand can adopt:

Virtual try-on tech

The whole idea of virtual try-on is to combine Artificial Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) to provide shoppers in-store-like product experience.

If you can see yourself wearing the attire virtually, it’s more likely that you would purchase and keep the product. In Nosto’s survey, 59% of customers agreed with this fact.

(This post talks about this new online shopping trend in detail – 

Post-purchase selfies 

Shoppers like to see how the clothes look on real people rather than models or mannequins. Selfies and videos of customers wearing the apparel make it more relatable and reliable. 61% of surveyed customers from the US and UK said other customers sharing their post-purchase selfies can bring the returning orders down.

Answer customer queries

It’s possible that even after viewing the product photos and reading descriptions and FAQs, shoppers might have some queries, and if answered instantly, it can rapidly reduce the return rate. 

Integrating AI chatbots and virtual assistants can help shoppers solve their queries on-the-go, while also recommending offers, discounts, or relevant products for upselling. 64% of customers were in favor of improving shopping assistance to reduce product returns.

Apart from this, using AI robots at warehouses can solve issues like wrong product delivery and identifying damaged products which can significantly reduce fashion product returns.

Below are all the findings from the survey conducted by Nosto. Link to the complete article in comments.

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