How Visual Analytics Can Solve Your Product Returns Problem

Vizit Team
Content Optimization
3 min read

The holiday season brings joy and cheer, but it also brings a significant uptick in product returns. Following the 2022 holiday season, shoppers returned an estimated 1.39 billion orders globally —a 63% year-over-year (YoY) increase. The immense increase in product return rates has become a significant threat to retailers as return rates grow faster than revenues. 

How can retailers combat the growing problem of too many returns?

One powerful tool at their disposal is product imagery. Ecommerce customers heavily rely on PDP images for purchasing decisions:75% of online shoppers say that product images are essential when making a purchase decision, according to a Salsify survey. In fact, 95% of purchasing decisions are based on visual imagery alone

Optimizing product imagery can both increase sales and reduce return rates. 

High-quality PDP images give customers a better understanding of the product, resulting in higher sales. A report by Semantic Scholar found that premium quality product photos can increase conversions by up to 40%. They can also significantly reduce returns—22% of online returns are because the product looks different from its online image, according to research by Trueship

How to Reduce Product Returns 

Here are some tips ecommerce businesses can apply to reduce returns:

1. Optimized Images

Optimized PDP images can help reduce the likelihood of returns, as customers are offered several high-quality and descriptive images that provide a better understanding of the product and its features. 

A recent study from Nfinite found that 83% of customers will return a product if what they receive doesn’t match the online images. Visuals that accurately show the product features, color options, fabric texture, and other details help consumers get an accurate view of what they will receive as well as confirm any customization decisions.

2. Detailed Product Descriptions

Detailed product descriptions play a critical role in minimizing product returns. When customers have comprehensive information about the product, they can make more informed purchase decisions, resulting in fewer mismatched expectations. 

By clearly outlining product features, specifications, and usage instructions, businesses can set accurate expectations and reduce the likelihood of returns due to misunderstandings or dissatisfaction. One possibility is including descriptors on the carousel images, providing context for the images depicting product benefits. However, this method only works when the target audience and retailer consumers prefer to see text on images in this manner, and the variations should be tested before being flighted. 

3. Include Reviews and Ratings

Including product reviews and ratings is essential to minimizing product returns. Customer feedback provides valuable insights into the product's quality, performance, and usability, helping potential buyers make informed decisions. Authentic customer reviews foster trust, boost customer satisfaction, and lead to lower return rates, resulting in a thriving and customer-centric ecommerce environment. 

4. Offer Virtual Try-Ons or Accurate Size Charts

Offering virtual try-ons and accurate size charts is instrumental in minimizing product returns. Virtual try-on technologies enable customers to visualize how a product will look on them before making a purchase, reducing the uncertainty that often leads to returns. Additionally, accurate size charts or measurement guides in the image carousel provide detailed measurements and guidance, helping customers choose the right size and fit. 

By incorporating these tools, businesses can enhance customer confidence, reduce sizing issues, and ultimately decrease return rates, creating a more seamless and satisfying online shopping experience.

Embracing a customer-centric perspective will not only drive sales and minimize returns but also pave the way for long-term success in the competitive e-commerce landscape.

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