Let me start by says that a product return isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Based on a six-year study from the University of North Carolina’s Flagler Business School, the study looked at the return rates from various companies. And it turns out that there’s actually a “sweet spot” that equates to higher profits per customer sales. One company was found to have a magic number of 13 percent!
But a product return may not go the way merchants want. As reported in The Wall Street Journal, that same research showed numbers that were greater than this percentage actually decreased profits. And it signaled deeper, structural problems within the company itself. It could be a strict return policy or poor record keeping from accounting. Either way, these problems can lead to dissatisfied customers, increased chargebacks and much more.
I’d like to provide four simple tips that should help your business prevent excessive returns
Let customers touch and feel your products
Allow your customers to fully experience your merchandise. Touching, Tasting, Feeling – your customers can make a more informed decision, which will minimize returns.
Many times such returns are the result of a retailer carrying a product that doesn’t have the features customers demand. They may still buy it, but the end result will typically be a return.
Listen to your Customers
The best way to find out what the customers want is to ask them. Salespeople will also have great insight as to what customers are asking for that a store isn’t carrying. Paying attention to the responses and acting on them will help minimize returned merchandise. Keeping tabs on the competition can also be useful.
“With tight payrolls and a large turnover of associates, displays are more important than ever before,” says Tom Hebrock, vice president of retail services at Stuart and Associates in Brentwood, Tenn. “This is what the customer relies on if they can’t get employee assistance in the store.”
Displays need to have consistent information for one type of product. The sign also needs to include accessories that are needed but not included so the customer doesn’t get home expecting what’s not there.
Informative displays will also help store personnel communicate the benefits and features of the products they are selling. While it would be nice for associates to memorize every feature of every product, the expectation is unrealistic, and detailed displays will assist them in selling.
Follow these tips to prevent excessive returns so that you can operate in the Sweet Spot of customer returns.