Data is everywhere, and if your eCommerce company is paying attention, the information that you’re swimming in every day could be used to improve your returns management by eliminating many of the reasons that customers send their orders back. According to a recent article in Entrepreneur, 67 percent of all returns could have been prevented by you, the retailer.

All the data manipulation you do in order to choose the best products to sell and who to market those products to can be used in loss prevention, too. This is truly service beyond free shipping.

Top Reasons for Order Returns

You might have been shocked to learn that the most common reasons that customers return their orders are, essentially, your fault. Hold on to your hat, because you’ll be even more surprised at the reasons they say they’re returning items and how easy these things would be to prevent.

  1. You sent the wrong items. It’s true, 23 percent of those online returns are because you didn’t send the right thing to begin with. This should be an easy fix for your company. Streamlining processes, using tools like bar code scanners to ensure you’ve picked the right items and extra checks before the box is sealed will reduce your chances of sending the wrong item out again.If you’re not equipped for this, you should form a partnership with a third-party logistics company (3PL) that is already servicing eCommerce retailers like you.
  2. The product doesn’t match the online description. Sometimes the dress is blue, sometimes it’s gold, but it’s your job to make sure that the customer knows what they’re buying, beyond a shadow of a doubt.Photos should be taken in neutral lighting and written descriptions should include measurements and other important information. The more detail you can provide, the more likely that you and the customer will see eye-to-eye.
  3. Something was damaged in transit. This is another area where it may be worth it to bring in a third-party to help prevent these kinds of returns. The supply chain can be a pretty rough place, you have to pack items so they won’t break if they’re jostled, because they will be.Focus on packing products so they can’t move and so they will resist some amount of crushing. You can always test out your packaging by simulating some of the rough handling that your items might experience to better protect them in transit.

There’s no better return like the one that no one has to make. You save money on running products through your reverse logistics team and the customer saves the hassle of sending products back. Even with a pre-printed smart label, you’re both putting in extra effort that is just unnecessary. Use your data to go beyond free return shipping.