An increasing number of online shoppers deliberately use the return policy of your e-Commerce store to try on products. But a strategic use of personalisation can make the best of a frustrating return.

Every year the e-Commerce business develops and innovates, but so do the customers.

And as the gap closes between the attentive service and great conditions shoppers receive offline and online, customers start to use this new level of service on your online store to their advantage.

According to a study from The University of Regensburg, 23% of e-Commerce stores experience a +25% return rate. And it is even worse for online businesses within the fashion industry - 48% of these stores, including Zalando, experience a return rate as high as 50%!

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These incredible numbers represent a shift in the mentality and approach of online shopping.

Because rather than carefully considering different products, still more customers simply choose to try them all out (sometimes from different webshops).

These customers then return what they don't like - just as you would in the changing room of a brick-and-mortar store.

But even though this amount of returns can be extremely frustrating and costly for you as an e-Tailer, there actually is a silver lining to this trend.

You have data on your customers. Use it!

Because your customers might be returning a product, but that doesn't mean that you have lost them. Far from it!

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Since they've browsed your page and placed an order, you already know what these specific customers are interested in from their click history and you furthermore have their email addresses from the check-out flow.

Use emails to make your customers return

And you can use the combination of this data to send out personalised emails specifically targeted to those of your customers, who've returned a product (and who've opted in to receive offers, that is).

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By sending your customers emails with recommendations and special offers on products similar to the ones you know they are interested in, you remind them of the great product catalogue that converted them in the first place.

These emails are so important, because they enable you to stay top of mind with your customers and make them return faster than they might have expected themselves.

And that is also why time is of the essence, when using emails to get your customers back - because the longer you wait after your customers return a product, the less likely is it that they will remember your store and have the incentive to come back.

Inspire your customers upon their return

But even as you get customers to return, you still have a lot to gain by considering how to quickly peak their interest so they never look back.

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And personalised product recommendations on the front page is one of the strategies that just works in this connection, because you immediately hit customers with products they are interested in.

In fact, 45% of online shoppers prefer to shop in an e-Commerce store that offers this kind of personalisation and it's also our experience that personalised recommendations increase both basket size and order value.

So, even though customers might exploit the service that you offer on your online store, you can still flip a frustrating situation to a very positive one.

...The only thing you can't predict or control, is then whether or not that customer will pull the same move once more, but that is just the name of the game ;-)