Product returns are part of the cost of doing business for all retailers. As an e-commerce retailer, you experience a higher number of returns than a brick-and-mortar operation. However, there are things you can do to increase sales and reduce return rates for your online marketplace by preparing your warehouse and shipping processes for the holiday season. Zenventory has taken a look at how your inventory management system and shipping integration can help you manage your orders, shipping, and return process, all with one software.
What Online Buyers Want for the Holidays
People who do online shopping have definite ideas about returns. Here’s what recent research shows:
Free returns actually improve sales.
- If returns were free, 66% of shoppers would buy more online.
- Businesses who charge for return shipping can see a decrease in sales by more than 75% and even lead to losing the sale completely.
- When a business offers free returns, sales over the next two years increase by 58 to 357%.
An easy return process is critical.
- Including a return label in the package satisfies the needs of 62% of customers. Alternatively, easy-to-print return labels will satisfy customers.
- Free return shipping is critical, as are automatic refunds.
How to Reduce Product Returns
The Four Most Common Types of Returns
According to GetElastic.com, here are the four top return issues.
- A quarter of returns result because the product isn’t what the buyer expected.
- Product fit is cited in 17% of returns.
- Receiving the wrong product accounts for 16% of returns.
- In 5% of cases, a product is returned because it was damaged during transit. Further, 58% of shoppers who received damaged shipments won’t purchase from that retailer again.
Your Zenventory inventory management system comes in handy with helping to prevent situations such as these. By conducting inventory counts you can make sure that not only you have the correct quantity of your items but that they are also in the right place to avoid any order picking errors. And with Zenventory’s integration with shipping solutions such as ShipWorks, ShipStation, and ShippingEasy, you can be sure to find the best deals and delivery methods to ensure that your orders get shipped to the right place at the right time and in one piece..
The first and second reasons above can be addressed with website updates. For example, you can increase the chance that the product will be what the buyer expected by including product videos and reviews on your website.
Product fit is a common issue with e-commerce. Reduce these returns by providing a sizing chart or an application that lets the buyer compare the product to something they already own. In addition, a description of the different clothing cuts can help. For example, describe the difference in the size of shirts labeled as standard fit vs. athletic fit vs. loose fit.
Inventory and Shipping Fixes
The third and fourth type of returns can be reduced by improving your retail inventory management and shipping processes.
You can easily reduce the occurrence of shipping the wrong product and shipping damage by automating your small business inventory management system like Zenventory.
- An automated system will let you calculate the number of stock items you need to fulfill orders. In return, you’ll be able to reduce inventories.
- Cycle counting lets you maintain accurate inventory levels without the delays and expense involved in closing your warehouse to conduct inventory counts.
- Shopping cart integration can retrieve orders from your store, allocate inventory, and set up picking, packing and shipping for each order.
- You can process shipments as part of the fulfillment process and ensure that appropriate packaging is used to avoid damage.
Automating retail inventory management helps to reduce the overall costs of managing small business inventory and fulfilling orders. As a result, you’re in a better position to satisfy online shoppers by reducing return shipping fees or eliminating them altogether.
Zenventory offers a web-based inventory management system for small and medium-sized businesses and 3PL companies. The system delivers inventory management, vendor management, order fulfillment and more — complete with integrations to popular shipping and e-commerce systems.