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How to reduce online product return rates while boosting sales

Today’s modern consumer expects an online shopping experience that’s better than what they would experience in-store.

From fast navigation to clear and compelling imagery, on-demand customer service and easy product returns, the bar is continually being raised for retail stores wishing to succeed in today’s hyper-competitive online marketplace. 

In addition to website functionality, brands such as Amazon and Netflix have popularised the value of personalisation, leading many consumers to believe that they should be able to purchase exactly what they want, when they want it… with extras! 

Brands that are able to deliver on this are rewarded with the most coveted form of low-cost marketing available: 5-star reviews and organic word of mouth.

But when a brand fails to meet these expectations, most consumers have no problem looking elsewhere. 

So what can the average Australian retail business do to succeed in a modern digital landscape?

Don’t play catch up. Be strategic.

One of the biggest challenges for Australian retailers is that they continually feel like they are playing catch up in an environment that is rapidly evolving. 

However, playing catch up will always leave you a step behind.  

The key is to embrace innovative and creative strategies that set your business apart. Understandably, this requires internal resources to be focussed on forward-thinking initiatives rather than day-to-day operations. This is where leveraging technology to take on more of the hack work can help free up staff to focus on value-add work that drives the business forward. 

Showcase your products exquisitely

  • Find your website quickly, on any device.
  • Navigate rapidly to products of interest.
  • Understand the product and its availability completely.
  • See clear and compelling imagery.
  • Watch videos or other key product information.
  • Personalised product recommendations (e.g. based on what is known about the customer, the purchase- and return reaons history, his preferred colors, size etc.).
  • Get answers to questions.
  • See their cart and make changes easily.
  • Have several options to pay and then track delivery.
  • Return a product if it’s not right.

Frustrated shoppers are a brand’s worst nightmare. As negative reviews pile in, the brand’s reputation can take a serious hit which is often very difficult to recover from.  

While fulfilling all the needs of a modern online shopper may seem insurmountable, technology is brilliant at solving these challenges for you. 

For example, a quality Product Information Management (PIM) solution will automate and streamline everything from product onboarding to upselling and cross-selling, personalised recommendations, imagery, product descriptions, and more – ultimately leading to higher sales with lower return rates.

Empower vendors to manage their product information 

Retail teams spend an incredible amount of time and energy dealing with suppliers. Be it delivery timeframes, stock availability, or obtaining complete product information, liaising with hundreds (or even thousands) of potential vendors can significantly impact your bottom line. 

Deploying an advanced vendor management solution can help mitigate many of these challenges and risks, while giving staff time back to concentrate on more important tasks. 

By looking to where digital solutions can support digital challenges, retail businesses have an opportunity to accelerate their capabilities for the benefit of their people, profit, and customers. With the right systems in place, delivering a personalised and wow-worthy customer experience isn’t a challenge – it’s a normal part of your everyday.