How to handle and reduce E-Commerce returns

E-Commerce returns are a big deal for businesses. One of the biggest challenges for online stores is reducing the return rate using various strategies. Sometimes customers return the products because they change their minds; sometimes it’s a matter of size, fit, or even having chosen the wrong color!

This article on Stage Try details some tips to reduce E-Commerce returns. Although there are some practical business solutions similar to Try Before You Buy, it’s still crucial for retailers to consider these options carefully to better handle their online shop’s returns.

What are the E-Commerce returns? E-Commerce returns rates

The frequency of returning items by customers is what we call “E-Commerce returns rate” in the online retail world. You can measure it by calculating how many items were returned within a certain timeframe versus the total number of products that were sold.

 Why is E-Commerce return substantial? 

The way you manage return products impacts sales and customer loyalty. Most customers check and review the return policy of online stores before purchasing because the nature of E-Commerce still has a level of uncertainty for the user.

According to shipbob 

  • 92% of shoppers say they will buy again if the returns process is easy. 
  • 79% of consumers expect free return shipping, and 49% of online retailers offer it. 

These percentages show that why E-Commerce returns are critical.  


What is the most returned item?  

The rate of returns can differ between different businesses, depending on their returns policy, business strategies, and the products they’re selling. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that clothing, electronics and shoes have the highest E-Commerce returns rate compared to food, furniture, books and beauty.

  7 reasons for E-Commerce returns 

  1. The customers bought the wrong item or changed their minds.  
  2. The store shipped the wrong item.  
  3. The items arrived late, and the customer didn’t need them anymore.  
  4. Believe it or not, some customers buy an item for a short time and use it with the tags tucked inside, only to return it a few days late!  
  5. Some other customers order several items because they are not sure of what they want, only to return them later on.  
  6. Customers selected the wrong size and fit.  
  7. The product was damaged or broken.  


How do businesses manage E-Commerce returns? 

So, how should you be handling E-Commerce returns? Your returns management strategy has a massive influence on increasing sales and building customer loyalty. New and practical return programs will encourage customers to decide to purchase from you again in the future or not. It entirely depends on the positive experience of customers when they return a product. If you consider the following tips, your E-Commerce return volume can be reduced:

For starters, every product should have high-quality images, descriptions, and even videos. It’s a big inconvenience when a customer receives a product that isn’t what they pictured when they shopped online.

The details of products are also vital in a customer’s decision. Remember to keep your descriptions up to date to prevent returns that are the result of confusion: reliable info about the product can also decrease returns because what the customers receive will match their expectations.

  • Consider putting size guides on your product page.  

Once customers order their items according to an accurate size guide table, they know they can trust you on future orders. Implementing size charts will reduce return rates and increase sales by generating loyalty.

  • Customer reviews can help people select the correct item.  

Online reviews impact the buying decisions of over 93% of customers. You should encourage customers to leave a review of your products. It is a fact that consumers are more likely to feel confident in a product or brand if it’s recommended by someone else. This will also help you identify any issues or problems people have with the product and fix them to reduce your returns.

  • Implement returns policy  

Did you know that increasing the number of days a customer gets to return a product reduces returns? More days would give time to the customer to try out the product before even thinking about returning it.

  • Identify E=Commerce trends to improve your strategy – Try Before You Buy  

It’s great to give your customers a chance to test out your product before they make a purchase. If customers are allowed to try an item before they shop it, you can expect a drop in your return rates. With this new trend, customers now have fewer reasons to return products that don’t fit well or feel differently than they expected. The “Try Before You Buy” method gives customers the confidence to buy.

One of the valuable benefits of “Try Before You buy” is a reduction in return rates.  


As online shopping continues to grow, E-Commerce returns are also on the rise. Returns cost money, take time to process, and leave your customers with a bad experience. Having a creative return policy that meets expectations and encourages customers to buy gives a competitive advantage to your business. If you have an online store, you’re likely to have a long-term strategy to reduce E-Commerce returns.

At Stage Try we want to help you make the process of returning a product easy for your customers. Our strategy is to offer a “Try Before You Buy” premium solution that gives the customer the chance of trying products before making a final purchase.

As this is still a new solution in the market, it is better to start earlier than your competitors and launch TBYB to benefit from this trend.

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