Fashion products are the top-selling category in online retail. It accounts for about $596.1 billion in 2020, worldwide, and continuously escalating.
But, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought some unpredictable fluctuation in the sales of fashion products. Buyers have prioritized the purchase of sanitizers, facemask, and other disinfectant products over clothes, jewelry, and other apparel products.
Further, due to country-wise lockdown across the world; parties, celebrations, and other ceremonies have not been much prevalent, reducing the needs for fashion purchases.
However, if you own an online store selling any of the fashion products, then you are probably going to make huge profits in the post COVID era if you perform well.
Starting an online store in the fashion category is a bit more tricky than any other product category because you have to deal with a huge variety of customer expectations. And, to manage these varied huge expectations, you have to provide a wide variety of eCommerce features to smoothen every stage of the buying process.
Even with all such features, fashion eCommerce remains limited. Buyers don’t have trial rooms while purchasing clothes online, they cannot touch the product physically.
As a result, the return rate of fashion products is much higher than any other product. Further, the festive season boosts this return rate to a new height.
It is the most frustrating and damaging side of fashion eCommerce.
Being a fashion store merchant, you seriously need to understand the growth of fashion purchases expected during the post-COVID period and with this, the rise in eCommerce fashion return rate affects your online shopping scenario and customer experience.
With this article, I am trying to help eCommerce fashion merchants to understand the key reason for high fashion product returns, and manage return refund and exchange on their online store effectively without much hassle.
Table Of Content
- Reasons Why eCommerce Fashion Has the Highest Returns
- Ways to Control eCommerce Fashion Return
- Is ZERO Return and Exchange Possible?
- The Ultimate Solution
Let’s get started with the top reasons for fashion product return.
Reasons Why eCommerce Fashion Has the Highest Returns
Fashion products such as clothes, shoes, jewelry, and other things are linked more to the fancy desires of the consumers that demand higher satisfaction than those products that are just need-based.
Online shopping offers limited engagement with the products. Buyers cannot touch the fabric of the clothes, can’t slip their feet in shoes, and check the space, can’t experience them physically. Hence, return and exchange becomes more likely in fashion eCommerce.
I have prepared a list of common reasons for eCommerce fashion return. Understanding these reasons will help you to reduce the return and control it to the most possible extent.
1. There is No Online Trial Room
Trial rooms are one of the busiest places in shopping malls. Shoppers try multiple dresses, get convinced, then proceed with the purchase.
How this process in online shopping for clothing products carried out?
Is there anything like an online trial room? Or is it completely ignored?
Online shoppers mainly rely on product images, and description details. And, with these images and information, buyers assume the products and purchase them.
They discover the product completely only after it arrives at their home. And so, there are more chances for discontentment — increasing the rate of return and exchange.
Hopefully, virtual reality and augmented reality may open up new possibilities for clothing products as a virtual trial room, where customers can virtually check the fitting of fashion products or clothes.
Asos has recently launched its first augmented reality feature, which will improve fashion shopping by visualizing the product in real life to the customers. Such 3D visualization is the future of fashion eCommerce that would resolve several present limitations of fashion eCommerce.
Also, Amazon is developing a virtual fitting room app, which will do the same. Such technologies are aimed to revolutionize online clothing retail to a new level.
2. Size Matters In Fashion Products
The size mismatch of the clothing, shoes, or other fashion products is the biggest reason for clothes and shoe returns.
Many times, the wrong sizes of products get shipped due to the sheer negligence of the packing and delivery teams who are just in their learning phase. That also affects the fashion eCommerce return rate.
On the other hand, the wrong item size scenario occurs when the specified measurement of the product is not mentioned over the catalog or the shop-page. This takes place from brands-to-brands where every size description is mentioned differently.
The wrong size of shoes, or clothes is of no use to the buyers, and hence, return or exchange of such products is their top priority.
3. Expectation is More in Fashion Products
Honesty is the Best Policy
Do not ever brag about your products/services which you cannot provide or not deem to provide to your customers.
Customer experience and the number of eCommerce returns are inversely proportional.
According to research, 47% of return, refund, and exchange occur because it does not fulfill customer’s expectations. And 23% of the buyers state that it does not match with the image and the description.
For instance: Here, I would like to share one report over social media that has nailed the issue harder even for Amazon’s Batman attire:
Seriously, they should be ashamed how much this does not match the actual product. 😂🤣😂 pic.twitter.com/9BhYvuK37A
— Gordon Van Dyke 👑🐙👑 (@GordonVanDyke) September 5, 2018
4. Damaged Product Received
An instance shared by eastfork.com stated, ‘A big cost of return to online retailers is spent so that it could be exchanged in real-time and without any customer loss’.
This I think is the most vital thing for any business and eCommerce returns management to claim because it has the fear of losing them.
Like, eastfork.com where well-curated pottery products are displayed for online shopping, it is better to brief about the damaged products even in fashion eCommerce return where fabric, color, and other related things are mishandled to reduce fashion industry expenditure.
For instance: While talking to Mr. Merkel, I have learned that this person is the master of the eCommerce industry with all the ins and odds happening. He shared a story which said,
‘Once my friends who are working for a well-renowned brand told me that customers can go wicked when it comes to sending down damaged products in return. He continued, one of my customers returned a product based on ‘ill-fitting’.
But when that product was checked by our manufacturing team, they realized that the hem of the inner lining was open and seemed that it had been purposefully scissored.
Therefore, damaged product or purposely modified fashion products is a common reason for returns request.
5. Holiday Season Naturally Increases the Return Rate
Well, here you need to be your best and smart. During the holiday season, about 5-folds of the eCommerce industry experience a jump in their revenue generation.
But sadly, they are just the bumps that land up into eCommerce returns. Refund and exchange effects on the fashion industry can be many but you need to learn how you can use them as u-pins for your brands.
For instance: If you want to know how to reduce fashion industry refunds, return and exchange cases especially after the holiday season, then you need to come up with varied options while your customers return their received products as gifts.
After you have learned about customer experience, you just need to be flexible and insist on them going for ‘Exchange’ with the equally priced product or even go for the higher or same category but ‘No’ to return the product or refund.
Here, you can even encourage your buyers to accept refunds in their e-wallet which gets stored and is used for future purchases.
6. Too Many Options in Fashion Products
Customers are ‘God’ to your store but they are fickle-minded too. You seriously cannot coin-in to say that there is a specific need for the product bought. It can so happen that there is no longer a need for the product bought. Mainly, the fashion eCommerce return rate escalates through this instance.
For example, a customer orders a purse for her friend but sadly cannot see how many days it would get shipped. In such cases, the customer might feel that the product is no longer needed and may even cancel the complete order.
In these cases, you can surely recommend them to go for an exchange or utilize it for their personal use. Here you can convince them of the product ordered.
Via product return rate analysis, it is pretty much sure that there are multiple types of return or refund or exchange but you need to use it for your purpose.
7. Wardrobing is Common in Fashion eCommerce
Well, for the ones who are new to this term.
Wardrobing: It is a fraudulent practice of purchasing products, using it on some special occasions, and then returning for a refund.
In today’s world, refund and exchange in the fashion industry is the hot-topic for any eCommerce store. You just improve upon your refund and exchange policy and witness the lowering effect of return, refund, and exchange from fashion eCommerce brands.
8. Buying Original, Returning Fake
You should always keep in mind that while promoting online shopping, customer experience is the main agenda to talk about. But, you need to be smart enough to read your customer’s mind. Thinking that your customers and their journey with your brand, you cannot ignore their purpose with your business.
Many of the fraudsters are caught buying an original thing from your eCommerce business and then returning the false product claiming that it is real.
You need to look for points like:
- Quality of the product
- Mismatch of the details of the product
- Faulty logo and fonts
- Missing out accessories
For instance: If you are selling jewelry of multiple brands, then you need to take special care of the returns and exchanges and go through a deep product return rate analysis. Such fraud takes place, especially where a minute disturbance can cause harm to the original piece and will affect the return.
While receiving a return of your jewelry item or extending a refund for the product, you need to see the product in particular and in real-time. Products like these may have gem imbalance, meaning tarnishing the shine of the product or displacement of the QR code with the product.
Ways to Control eCommerce Fashion Return
1. A Well Framed Return Policy
Your refund and exchange policy is a powerful way to filter out valid and invalid return and exchange requests of customers. It can help you to control your buyers from making unjustified return and exchange requests.
You can clearly mention the permissible days for return and exchange, mention the category of refundable products and non-refundable products, manage the shipping cost, and set other restrictions to avoid wardrobing.
About 66% of buyers check your return policy page, hence having a well-written and convincing return policy is absolutely indispensable for every online store.
Learn to Write Return Policy for Your Online Store
2. Provide Accurate Information of Your Product
Online shopping is based on how effectively data or information communicates between buyers and sellers. A misleading and deceptive product description or images can become the major reason for return and exchange requests for fashion products.
Since fashion products are hard to describe, their qualities are not expressible in numbers. Therefore, high-resolution images are a really important tool for eCommerce fashion stores.
The more the customers know about the product before purchasing, the lesser the rate of return will become.
Simple And Effective Tips For Designing eCommerce Product Page
Is ZERO Return and Exchange Possible?
A big NO!
Ideal situations are not possible in reality.
No matter what product you sell, it’s not possible to satisfy each and every customer, every single time. Therefore, reducing the rate of return and exchange requests should be the only objective for the merchants, without hoping to eliminate it completely.
I have already shared tips to control unnecessary and unfair returns and refund requests in the above section. Now, let’s further learn to manage the valid return and exchange requests of the customer.
The best solution is to strategically manage your RMA process. Take it less as a burden and more as an opportunity, satisfy your customers to a level that they turn into loyal customers.
Introducing automation to your RMA process, setting up users’ wallets, restocking returning products, and if all is managed peacefully and automatically, can greatly reduce the burden of the seller and the customer as well.
The Ultimate Solution
WooCommerce RMA for Return Refund and Exchange is the solution that I suggest for any online business. This will assist you with an automated process of refund and exchanges which will simplify the refund and exchange tiring requests.
Free Version of Return Refund And Exchange for WooCommerce
This is the ultimate solution for you to easily manage the return and exchange of your fashion store
Additionally, this can provide your customers with a simplified way to apply for return-refund-exchange, e-wallet, cancel order requests, handle a complete stock management system, an automated emailing system to exchange messages with the user, and much more.
Running a business without refund and exchange issues is next to impossible. So, why not go smarter and lift one more bar higher for precaution in your business?
Precaution is always better than Cure!
According to a recent survey by our research team, the fashion vertical faced about 30% of refunds, and exchange. Refund and exchange in whole-sole garment vertical and fashion vertical with 10% each as compared to others.
To set up WooCommerce RMA for return refund and exchange, you can follow the link below.
Complete Setup for Free & Premium Return Refund and Exchange
eCommerce purchase and return in the fashion products, both are going to boom after the COVID pandemic. And therefore, eCommerce fashion retailers need to be ready for both, beforehand.
The reasons I have shared above, help you to understand the root cause of why fashion eCommerce has the highest return rate.
And, later with the WooCommerce return refund and exchange plugin, we learned to easily manage the return and exchange of your fashion store.
You can get started with the free version now.
If you have any questions left, shoot it in the comment section.