Here’s everything you need to know about e-commerce returns in 2023.
If you're an e-commerce merchant, a cross-border merchant, or an Amazon seller, refunds and returns will become significant parts of your business. Regardless of how high-quality your products are, there'll still be customers who'd like to return your products for one reason or another.
To learn more about the latest e-commerce return statistics and trends, check out our detailed guide below.
E-Commerce Return Statistics
The Average E-Commerce Return Rate Is 18.1%
One of the essential e-commerce return statistics to look out for is the average return rate. You can expect that, in 2023, your customers will return 18.1% of the products you sell. This rate is significantly higher than the return rate of brick-and-mortar stores, which is 8%
There are a few nuances to this statistic that you should be aware of. For high-ticket items, the average return rate shoots up to 50%. Similarly, the return rate shoots up to 30% during the holidays.
While 18.1% is the average e-commerce return rate, you can really bring down that rate to 10% by maintaining a high standard of quality for your products and your customer service.
80.2% Of Returns Occur Because the Product Is Damaged
In most cases, product shipping is out of your control. After all, you'll likely hand off shipping responsibilities to a shipping partner or company. Unfortunately, one of the main reasons customers return products is because it reaches them in a broken state.
From your end, be sure to package the product carefully to cut damage during travel.
58% Of Shoppers Want a Hassle-Free Return Policy
Nearly 60% of all online shoppers want a hassle-free experience when it comes to product returns. In most cases, this means that customers want to be able to return an unopened package for a full refund without a shipping or return fee. They also don’t want to have to provide a reason for the return.
62.58% Of Shoppers Expect Merchants to Allow Returns Within 30 Days
Around 62% of online shoppers expect online sellers to allow returns within 30 days. This likely will give them ample time to check the product out in person and decide whether they actually want to keep your product.
E-Commerce Return Trends
Customers no longer view free returns as something that’s nice to have. In 2023 – and likely every year after – customers expect to be able to return products without having to pay a return fee or a shipping fee.
You may view offering free returns as your money going down the drain; however, this isn’t the case. Customers spend up to 357% more when shopping at online stores that offer free returns, as opposed to online stores that don’t.
After the pandemic, it’s become especially important to make your customers feel safe when returning your products.
In 2023, self-service, home delivery, and pickups are all becoming services for returns that customers expect. You can also expect the growth of locker blocks in public spaces to grow in popularity this year. These lockers function as drop-off points for product returns.
Offering contactless returns won't only benefit the customers who don't wish to come into close contact with others, but it also provides convenience for customers who live busy lives. This is because contactless returns are often available 24/7.
Amazon’s starting a new trend by accepting box-free product returns.
Finding a box, tape, and a printing label for returns can be a hassle for most customers. Amazon understood this and made the return process more convenient by accepting returned products without boxes. All customers need to do is to hand the product to an Amazon associate for free packing and shipping.
In 2023, it’s safe to assume that many more e-commerce merchants will begin to follow Amazon’s lead as box-free returns become more mainstream.
How Does the Return Experience Affect Retention Rate?
A survey conducted in the UK found that 84% of online shoppers won’t buy from a merchant again after a bad return experience. This means that eight in every ten customers who would buy from you will choose not to buy from you again if you provide them with an unsatisfactory product return experience.
It's safe to say that a smooth and painless product return experience is a crucial factor when it comes to securing repeat customers.
What’s the Importance of a Returns Management Solution?
Up until now, you may have viewed returns as a hassle and a drain on your earnings. Of course, accepting returns comes with a wide range of issues, such as the expenses involved in shipping the product, shipping a replacement product, or refunding the customer, as well as paying workers to ensure returns go smoothly.
As much as you may want product returns and all associated issues to go away, the statistics show that product returns are here to stay – especially for e-commerce merchants. Luckily, the statistics also show that you can use product returns to your advantage.
As mentioned earlier, a positive returns experience boosts the chances of customers choosing to buy from you again. They’re more likely to buy from you again because they’re confident that if they ever encounter a problem and need to return a product, they can do so with ease.
In order to facilitate a smooth and effective product return experience for your customers, you’re going to want to make use of a returns management solution.
Return Helper Returns Management Solution
To optimize your return process, work with Return Helper. Return Helper is an end-to-end return management solution that integrates with all major marketplaces and e-commerce solutions. Some of Return Helper’s key features include:
Warehouse and Logistics. We offer 15 overseas warehouses, over 30 international carriers, instant label generation, and more.
Shopify Return. If you sell through your Shopify website, we can provide you with a branded portal that allows for auto-generated labels, automated returns, real-time shipping tracking, and inventory tracking.
eBay Return. Return Helper can help you provide an automated return experience in order to retain customers, increase customer satisfaction, and cut down on expenses.
FBA Return. As an official partner of Amazon’s Solution Provider Network, we can handle all aspects of your returns. Inventory inspection, relabelling, and reshipping to Amazon – we can handle all these for you and more.
Handling returns will always be a part of any e-commerce business. Although you can’t make returns and refunds go away, you can improve the return experience you provide and retain customers. To do this, it would be best to make use of a return management solution.