Reasons and Rates of Returns in Online Shopping

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Return reasons are one of the handicaps of online shopping.

Today, online shopping is a good alternative for customers. Now, it is simple to find everything you need including textile products, electronic devices or spare parts on the internet. Various advantages like a high number of options, choosing by using a computer or smartphone from anywhere, cargo delivery to address and payment at the doors attracts consumers. But, online shopping has some risks for both sellers and buyers.

Different product properties, flawed products or changing your mind about the product will lead to the return process. As returning a product is the natural right of the buyer, this process might cause a problem on the seller side.

What Are The Main Return Reasons for E-Commerce?

In online shopping, buyers can only view the product from shared images. In online shopping, customers do not have the chance to see, try or touch the product in the store. Therefore, there might be different reasons for the return. These reasons can be listed in the following:

  • The product might not have the details described online.
  • The product might not have the desired color, thickness or quality.
  • The product might have a different size or shape.
  • The buyer might not like or want to use the product.
  • The buyer might find the same product with a more affordable price after buying and wants to buy the cheaper option.
  • The product might have errors or defects.
  • The process might be spoiled or deformed within a specific return duration.
  • The seller might send the incorrect product.
  • For any other reason, the buyer might want to change his/her idea to buy the product.

What Are the Ways to Decrease Returns in E-Commerce?

Right of withdrawal is a legal right of the buyers. But product returns are not a desirable situation for both buyers and sellers. Although the legal rights of the buyer are protected, sellers do not have much to say in the return process. Since Consumer Courts generally protect the rights of the buyers, sellers might become victims. It is important to be careful about the following topic to prevent any of these things:

  • The product image must be clear and high-quality to reflect the product as it is.
  • Different lighting that will show the product color differently should be avoided.
  • Images of the product from different angles must be provided in detail.
  • The product material and content must be provided in detail.
  • Using models in textile products might be regarded as an advantage.
  • Size and height information of the models in textile products might be provided in the product description. This will inform buyers about the product size and prevent any negative conditions due to size differences.
  • Sellers must avoid giving incorrect or exaggerated information about the product.
  • Buyers must consider all feedbacks, demands and complaints of the buyers.

What Are Return Rates in E-Commerce?

While return rates are 9% in traditional commerce, this rate increases to 30% in e-commerce. When e-commerce data of the last 10 years were analysed, it can be seen that 20% of return demands was due to damaged delivery, 23% from incorrect delivery, 22% from not having the same look with the purchased product and delivered product and 35% by other reasons.

It is understood that there is a high damaged delivery and cargo companies fail to deliver the product intact to buyers. Similar rates are seen in incorrect seller shipment. Again, not having a match between the ordered and the delivered product has a high ratio and this is the biggest problem in e-commerce.

What Is Cross-Border E-Commerce?

Cross-border e-commerce is defined as commerce by selling products to individual customers abroad with online sales channels (portals like websites, electronic marketplaces, Instagram, Facebook). A suitable e-commerce platform is needed for cross-border e-commerce. This platform determined individual customers who will contact with e-commerce seller. After these sales, VAT excluded sales invoice is billed; when this order is shipped with micro trade with Electronic Commerce Customs Declaration (ECCD), cross-border e-commerce is completed.

What Is Return Process in E-Commerce?

Aftersales is the most challenging process. Especially, cross-border e-commerce returns contain many details. Since the returned product is handled as an imported product, this causes significant losses in terms of time and money. For a returned and exported product to be included in free circulation exempt of customs taxes requires the return of rights and benefits due to export.

Firms exporting with ECCD system can take value-added tax return with ECCD query number. But if an exported product that benefits from value-added return returns back to the country, the value-added tax is collected from this product. This process leads to a financial loss and a challenging situation for the seller. This does not cause a financial loss on the buyer’s side, but the buyer needs to wait willingly for a long time.

How Should Cross-Border E-Commerce Management Be Done?

Return and return processes that have become more important in cross-border e-commerce should be considered and aftersales processes must be calculated in payment flow plans. Another important point here is a good analysis of user behaviours. Consumers prefer shopping from stores with easy and free return process more and find these safer.

Assessments showed that when consumers face responsibility in return processes, this has a negative impact on consumer’s decision making. An easy and free return process can be an important disadvantage for seller firms. In this case, a consumer can purchase products more than s/he needs just to try these products and select among these products and might want to send some product back. At this point, the return policies of the seller firm become important. It is extremely important to share this return policy with the users.

Another topic that needs to be considered in after sales processes must be the call center expenses. When consumer contacts with the seller for return, this creates additional cost for the seller. At this point, integrating a process that starts with receiving an order and continues with delivery is regarded as the most critical topic for a firm. While the exact product description to the user is the first condition, after sales communication with the user might significantly decrease the return demands.

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