The rise of returns: How to reduce return rates

March 15, 2023 Louisa Webb

Returns are at an all-time high within the apparel and footwear & accessories categories. Returned quantity of goods increased +8% for more2 clients in 2022.

more2's Client Strategy Director, Louisa Webb shares her insights and tips on how to combat the rise of returns.

There are a few key factors driving this increase:

Cost-of-Living crisis

Energy prices rising and inflation have hit a 40-year high, so returns can be attributed to ‘buyer’s remorse’ in the face of uncertain economic times. With inflation not predicted to improve in the near future, this will continue to be a contributing factor into 2023. 

Less is More Approach 

As per the last economic downturn, there has been a trend of customers turning towards small luxuries and a ‘less is more’ approach. With consumers buying multiple items on discount and then selecting one or two favourites to keep and returning the remainder of their order. 

At Home Fitting Room 

With a reduction in physical stores there is both a shift to online shopping, as well as reduced opportunity to try on in store so the home has become the fitting room. Consumers are then buying multiple items online to try on at home and then returning the unwanted goods.

Below we’ve shared 5 top tips to help ease the pain of returns:

Consider a staggered payment solution 

Customers transacting via Buy-Now-Pay-Later options such as Clearpay & Klarna have been seen to have a lower returns rate than those shopping via other payment methods. Consider integrating a staggered payment solution if you don’t already have one in place. 

Encourage more product reviews 

Get more customer product reviews (with ‘True to Fit’ votes). Reviews guide consumers to find the right size and product for them, in turn reducing returns. Prompt your customers to leave a review, especially the True to Fit votes. 

Similarly, ensure your size guides are up to date, easy to find and have all the necessary information to guide the consumer to make the right size decision.

Diversify your delivery partners

Don’t solely rely on one courier supplier. As seen over the Christmas period with the Royal Mail strikes, a lot of returns occurred as a result of receiving the product after the intended use has passed. 

Analyse your return data 

Specifically analyse your ‘Reason for Return’ data and have someone within your organisation owning Returns as a KPI. There isn’t a lot that can be done if a customer simply changed their mind. But if there are increases in returns relating to product size or wrong product received internal actions can be taken to improve this going forward. 

Discover who your Serial Returners are 

Uncover if you have ‘Serial Returners’ through analysis. Then implement actions to try and reduce this problem i.e. charge serial returners for their return, remove them from receiving your emails. 

If you want more tips on how to remain profitable throughout difficult economical times, join our free masterclass which shares how you can use your customer economics to survive and thrive too! 




Share This: