An e-commerce platform is the backbone of any online retail store, and choosing the right one is tricky. It’s a life-changing decision that can make or break your business.
Fortunately, there are a lot to choose from. You can use e-commerce platforms even without technical knowledge about creating an online store. It requires minimal configuration, and it offers many other features, even for small or startup businesses.
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A Quick Look at E-commerce Platforms
E-commerce platforms are store-building tools that have two key features.
First, online platforms let users, even beginners, build an online store without using codes. You get to choose a customizable theme to match your brand’s requirements and identity. With that, you also get to add a payment processor and blog to your store.
Second, online platforms are, in a way, web hosting service providers. You can get your own domain name. It’s not their primary benefit, but they have their own servers. That means that they’re hosting your online store. Thus, you don’t even need to install separate software to use it.
Third, with e-commerce platforms, you can also manage your store anywhere, market your products through their freely-provided marketing tools, and accept credit cards on your store. Most e-commerce platforms are mobile-ready and app-ready. You can access your store through a mobile phone and add third-party apps to it for added features. It also offers flexible shipping rates and automatic taxes on your products.
Online store owners or online retailers are also referred to as e-tailers. According to e-Tail Insights, there are currently 2.1 million e-tailers in the U.S., with Amazon leading the market, followed by Walmart and Apple.
Retail e-commerce in the U.S. has a revenue of $469 billion, 13.3% of the country’s total retail sales. It’s a big industry. No wonder many e-commerce platforms are battling it out to get the most users on their side.
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The Problem With Product Returns and What Drives Them
But no matter how robust and trustworthy an e-commerce platform is, there will always be customers who will be dissatisfied with your products. In 2020 alone, U.S. retailers lost $400 billion to returned products.
Customers have their own reasons for returning a product. According to data, 30% of customers returned products that were too small, while 22% returned products that were too large. On the other hand, 12% simply changed their minds, 8% didn’t like the style, 5% said the product didn’t fit the description on the product page, and 5% received a defective product.
According to Supply Chain Brain, understanding this data can help e-tailers know the root cause of returns in their company. This, in turn, can pinpoint errors in their online store — perhaps the return policy is insufficient, or they need to provide better product descriptions.
How to Control Returns
The best way to control returns is to choose a comprehensive e-commerce platform with an efficient returns management authorization (RMA) system such as Shopify.
Using Shopify returns management software can help you handle returns better. It automates and speeds up the process. Also, it allows your customers to initiate a return without requiring much effort and time from you and your staff. The system also helps you track and manage returns. With data that it can provide, you can also monitor the financial impact of returns to your sales and apply improvements where it’s needed.
Implementing best practices to manage returns is also a strategic move to control returns from your customers. This can include the following.
Better Product Descriptions
Creating product descriptions with complete details is crucial. Add photos of the product from all angles, but avoid editing or enhancing them. Include its dimension, size, and weight. In addition, mention its material and texture. A video of the product and how it can be used or worn can also be helpful.
If you’re selling clothes or shoes, provide a size chart and other fitting tools.
Test your products regularly. You can avoid sending out defective or broken products by having a quality checker. Make sure your products work the way they’re mentioned in their respective description pages.
Customer Feedback and Reviews
Encouraging satisfied customers to give a review or feedback about products they purchased. This can increase buyer confidence and reduces the chance of product
Providing Quality Customer Service
Quality customer service should be part of your customer handling process. If a customer contacts your company to complain about a specific product they want to return, a good customer care representative can help them understand your product better.
Improving Warehouse and Packaging Processes
This is applicable for products returned because your company sent them the wrong item. You can avoid this with an improved workflow.
Own the Process
Returns are a nuisance for both customers and business owners like you. It’s a bottleneck that prevents you from reaching your total potential growth. But as long as there are products to be sold, returns will always be there. However, sufficient returns data, adequate returns strategy, and efficient returns management software can control the situation for successful organizations.
If you want your store to manage returns successfully, follow the example of well-known organizations. Consider the tips above and own your success.
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