5 Ways to Lessen Consumer Returns

The main concern of any reverse logistics manager is the number of consumer returns that flow through their warehouse. These returns can reduce the profit margins that make or break a business. To lessen the impact, managers need to find a way to reduce the number of consumer returns. It may sound impossible, but here are 5 ways to preempt consumer returns and put more money back on the bottom line.  

1. Review and Update Instruction Manuals

If your instruction manuals or other directions for product assembly/use are convoluted, a customer might give up on the product altogether. Customer confusion and frustration can account for a high number of returns, especially in industries like electronics.  

Take your instruction manual and product and put yourself in your customer’s shoes. While you assemble or use the item, evaluate the language. Determine if you can simplify the processes so customers will better understand assembly/usage. Clear instructions help satisfy customers and ensure they will keep the product.  

2. Consider your Customer Service Department and Add RMA

A good customer service department can leave consumers feeling satisfied and informed. However, this aspect of your business shouldn’t be limited to questions. A qualified team of representatives in a return management authorization (RMA) department can help companies avoid returns.  

RMA situations require a customer to call before making a return. Often, your customer service staff can teach a customer how to use a product, alleviating an issue that may have forced a return without this intervention. Return authorization can address problems and potentially negate a return. 

3. Be Mindful of Truth in Advertising

Everyone has heard the phrases “results will vary” and “dramatization” but it may not be immediately clear how those words can reduce consumer returns without studying them from the other side. If a consumer buys a product after seeing an advertisement and doesn’t get the result on display, it will likely lead to dissatisfaction and force a return.  

Consumers will believe what they see and trust that an advertisement is a 100% representation of how a product performs for all people. From products like whitening toothpaste to diet pills and more, companies need to inform consumers that individual experiences will vary.  

4. Share Customer Perceptions

Whether positive or negative, customer reviews will help set a customer’s mind at ease when deciding to purchase a product. Most consumers turn to these personal testimonials to get honest feedback from others who have experience with the same item.  

Placing testimonials on a website and including positive reviews in advertising will allow customers to make a more informed purchase. Once comfortable with the product, there will be less chance that a customer will make a return.  

5. Use Recognizable Spokespeople to Endorse your Product.

Consumers trust the opinions of celebrities or people they recognize as authority figures – doctors, lawyers, teachers, public service workers, etc. Those endorsements act similarly to consumer reviews because customers put their trust in the truth behind the statements.  

An authority endorsement can go a long way to easing a consumer’s mind. Their trust will lead to a purchase that’s less likely to be followed by a return.  

The best way to lessen consumer returns is to offer helpful, honest, and logical information to your customers. When that information is available before and after a purchase is made, your business will have more informed consumers and higher profit margins due to lessened consumer returns. 

Image credit: DM

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