The Indian e-commerce market is arguably the fastest growing of its kind in the world, with a growth rate of 51% and climbing. It is slated to hit the $100 billion mark within the next 3 years. As a participant in such a fast paced, vibrant and competitive ecosystem, Indian online sellers always have to be on their toes. Every order counts in the online marketplace, because every order received directly impacts your seller’s rating.

While we have previously written about how to design marketing and social media campaigns to attract more customers on your webpage, it is what happens after, that really makes or breaks your status as a successful online retailer. Once the customer confirms an order with you, it can lead up to one of these scenarios –

While a certain amount of order cancellation and return is an eventuality and have to be accounted for, there are certain steps that we can take to ensure that the rate for both these scenarios is kept at a minimum. In this article, we are going to discuss the steps that you can take to reduce your order cancellation and return rates so as to make the most of your online retail business.

Why is it Important to Reduce Cancellation and Return rates?

The flexibility that buying something online provides the customer with, is that of going back and cancelling an already placed order. This can be quite a headache for the online retailer because every placed order essentially triggers a whole chain of events from the warehouse floor to delivery. This can be especially painful since most products on the major online retail marketplaces are expected to be delivered within 48 hours, which means that an order that is cancelled even on the day after placement can mean that the product is already out of the warehouse. Overall, product cancellations and returns tend to be extremely time and resource consuming. While there is no way that they can be avoided, certain steps can be taken to drastically reduce them.

Clearly Mention Product Details

One of the main reasons for product cancellation/returns is the fact that many times the information mentioned about the product on the website is either inadequate or unclear. As a result, the customer is knowingly or unknowingly misled into building a particular impression about a product that they order which may not necessarily hold true. It is therefore, vital to mention detailed product information in a clear manner on the website to avoid further complications in the future.

Use Good Product Images

Lack of tactility is something that online retail has had to grapple with since its beginnings. There have been attempts to bridge the gap between product and customer through brick-and-mortar extensions of online stores, but none of these attempts have truly made a mark on the industry. As a result, the customer has to make do with perusing product images on the seller’s website. By using an adequate number of high-quality images, you clarify your product for your customer. It is also advisable to use simple techniques to help the customer visualise the product better – like putting another object in the frame to compare size. We previously wrote about how to take great product images here.

Always have Open Communication Channels

It is always advisable to keep your shoppers in the loop about the status of their delivery. This way, even if the order needs to be cancelled, it can be done before the product has left the warehouse. Returns end up costing a lot more to the seller as compared to cancellations because the logistics costs add up once the product is out of the warehouse. Apart from that, establishing a good line of communication also helps you find the exact problem that the customer is facing and give you means to solve it. This way there is a chance that cancellation or return can be avoided altogether.

Should We Even Allow Returns?

A frequent topic of debate in online retail is the viability of the product return policy. It is estimated that 30% of all products bought online are returned, as compared to the 9% bought through brick-and-mortar stores. Returns are also not cheap on the pocket for the seller. If that is the case, shouldn’t we just scrap off the returns policy altogether? While this argument has its merits, the other side of the coin is that offering product returns is one of the most lucrative ways of increasing online sales.

67% of shoppers check the returns page before making a purchase and 92% will buy from a seller again if the returns process is easy. Offering returns is a good way of establishing trust with customers. However, it makes you vulnerable to a certain extent to various scam artists and fraudsters. Returns must, therefore, be treated quite cautiously and with prudence.

By having open communication and prompt responses, you can reduce your cancellation and return rates drastically. To know more, get in touch with Browntape. We are India’s leading ecommerce experts, and we are always happy to help!

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