Blog 4 min read

6 ways to reduce returns

Returns are one of the retail industry's biggest challenges, both online and in-store. Each return is a failed affair, both for the company and the customer. Not only is it expensive for the company: returns have a hugely negative impact on the environment.

The Voyado Retail Index illustrates how 2,6 million Swedish loyalty program members act on communication from retail companies and how they shop and return items both online and in-store.

The statistics show that women return more products bought online than men do, and in physical stores, it’s the other way around. 35-44 years old customers are the most likely to return products online – with a whopping 72% higher return rate than the average customer!

How to reduce returns

It’s important to set up a strategy for how your business can start reducing the number of returns. Below are some of our tips and ideas on how you can go about it:


Climate compensations 

One way of creating awareness, that in the long run might change a customer’s behavioral pattern, could be to offer the end customer the option to climate compensate for their returns. For example, climate compensation can go to an organization that plants trees. By understanding that returns harm the environment, the customer might change their buying and return behavior over time. For example by doing better research and choosing the right products to order. By offering voluntary climate compensation, you show that your company takes an environmental responsibility, while at the same making it clear that returns affect the environment negatively.

How to keep your customers – step by step Download guide


By rewarding customers with a low return ratio, you can turn a negative behavior into a positive one. Companies like LinkedIn or Snapchat successfully use gamification to encourage their users to complete their profiles or use their services more frequently. The more you complete your LinkedIn-profile, the closer you get to becoming a star member.

What if your customer, while purchasing items online, is informed that he or she will be rewarded with 1€ off their next purchase if they don’t return any of the products they bought?

Another gamification-way to encourage customers not to buy products that they will likely return is to show a meter that tells them how much CO2 emission their returns have caused. The goal may be to stay below a 10% return rate to become a star-level customer, and star-level members always receive a 5% discount on all orders.

Read more: Everything you need to know about retail campaign management

Fair marketing

Identify the products with the highest return ratio and find the reason for the returns. Can they be marketed more accurately, so that the product meets the customer’s expectations? A dissatisfied customer is a dissatisfied customer, regardless of whether the customer actually returns the item or not. Everyone loses when an ordered product does not match the customer’s expectations.

Save preferences and sizes to reduce returns

If your system remembers your customers’ clothes sizes or bike models, you prevent customers from making the wrong purchases. When a customer buys the wrong size or spare parts, it’s frustrating for the customer and expensive for all parties. A piece of clothing that is often returned because it runs small in size, could have a recommendation in the description for customers to order one size up. Also, try offering a size guide to help customers find the right size from the start.

Talk to one of our specialists to find out how Voyado can remember your customers’ preferences and previous purchases.


Avoid serial returners

We know that many customers use their home as a fitting room. Use your customer data to find consumers who often “buy to try”, or even use the products before returning them. They are also called the serial returners. The products they return are transported over long distances, use a lot of packaging, and are sometimes difficult to re-sell.

Serial returners can cost your company more than you earn from them. Consider excluding serial returners from your marketing altogether.

Explore the possibilities with Voyado

In Voyado, you have all the statistics to see which products get returned the most and by whom. For example, you can create a segment to encourage them to change their behavior, or exclude them from your marketing entirely! All in order to reduce returns. You can also set up promotions and automation to reward low return rates. These are just some of the ways in which Voyado can help you reduce returns and improve your business. Book a demo with one of our specialists today. We look forward to hearing from you!


More reading

Browse through all of our blog posts to find more inspiration!

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