7 Best Practices to Minimize Return Rate in E-commerce

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Dealing with ecommerce return rate can be quite a headache for businesses. They can significantly reduce profit margins, lower conversion rates, and harm the business. For online retailers, the situation can be particularly gloomy. The most unpleasant aspect of the cost of returns, however, is for customers who buy products with the plan to return them immediately.

Businesses are responding to this challenge by increasing their workforce, expanding their warehouse space, and creating separate departments to manage reverse logistics. Returns are becoming a norm in e-commerce and are a crucial aspect of customer experience. But they don’t have to be a problem!

How businesses handle e-commerce returns before and after purchase can make a big difference. It can help differentiate a brand, create a competitive advantage, and make the business more profitable.  Here are some of the best practices to improve the eCommerce return rate. 

7 Best Strategies to Improve the Online eCommerce Return Rate

Here are some practical strategies and examples to improve the eCommerce return rate in online commerce: 

1. Implement a Dynamic and Clear Size Guide

Update your size guides to include detailed measurements and fitting recommendations.

Example: You can add a small slider overlay on product images demonstrating how the clothing item fits. Consider implementing a virtual room planner to showcase furniture in real-life spaces. 

2. Use High-Quality Product Images And Videos

Compared to regular retail stores, e-commerce platforms offer customers limited visual cues about the product they are about to purchase. To bridge this gap, sellers must provide stunning photographs of the product that offer a 360-degree view. If the platform allows videos ( such as Amazon), leverage its power. A product video accurately describes the product’s quality, color, and finish.

By doing so, customers are less likely to return the product as they have a clear idea of what they purchase. 

3.  Provide Detailed Product Description 

A good product description should provide customers with comprehensive information about the product, including its features, dimensions, color options, and materials used to make it. This helps customers clearly understand the product they are purchasing, leading to fewer returns. 

Adding key details to the product title can also help provide customers with ready access to important information. 

4. Leverage Customer Service 

If a customer faces issues with their purchase, customer service channels will be their first point of contact. Train your team to respond proactively to potential issues and offer solutions, such as exchanging items for the correct size. This approach can help you know precisely the reason for the return that you can fix.  

5. Analyze Returns Data

Creating an Excel sheet to track returns and categorize them by reason for the return can help you understand the reasons behind the returns. 

Example: “Our returns analysis revealed that sizing issues are common. We’re now updating our size guides to provide more accurate information.”

6. Address Serial Returners

Monitor customer return patterns and issue warnings or restrictions for habitual returners. You can send them a warning email/message. 

7. Encourage Exchanges Over Returns

When a customer wants to return a product, the seller can offer them an exchange instead. This can be done by providing a range of options, such as a different size or color of the same product or a similar product that the customer may be interested in.

This approach helps build customer loyalty by providing exceptional customer service.
To incentivize customers to choose exchanges, sellers can offer benefits such as faster shipping or a discount on their next purchase.


Returns constitute an inescapable aspect of the e-commerce landscape. Despite occurring for reasons beyond the control of business owners, their influence on brand reputation and revenue streams is considerable. 

Consequently, eCommerce entrepreneurs should minimize return occurrences or, at the very least, provide customers with a smooth and hassle-free product return process. It is crucial to recognize that online shopping extends beyond fulfilling orders.

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