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The Most Common Reasons For Returns And How To Fix Them

Learn how to handle returns for your online business.
Photo by Bruno Kelzer on Unsplash

Photo by Bruno Kelzer on Unsplash

The Most Common Reasons For Returns And How To Fix Them

Returns are a significant problem for the eCommerce business model. Many online merchants receive more returns than brick-and-mortar stores. With profit margins already stretched thin, refunds and return requests might have a significant financial impact on online stores.

However, calculating the impact of returns may be difficult since there are so many variables to consider.

According to research, at least 30% of online products are returned, compared to 8.89% in a physical store. 92% of consumers polled stated they would buy again if the product return process were simple, while 79% desired free return shipping.

To reduce the impact of eCommerce returns on your business, online merchants must first understand why these returns are occurring and how to develop a strong return and refund policy.

The merchant shipped the wrong product.

If a customer found out the wrong item was shipped to them, they will likely initiate a return and even ask for a full refund.

If you've never had the wrong goods shipped, you might be surprised at how frequently this occurs. It's relatively frequent, and major merchants like Amazon have done it.

According to the Federal Trade Commission, it is unlawful to bill your customer for something they did not purchase (even if they did order something else). Your customer is not obliged to return the item to you, even if you give a refund.

Of course, some customers may offer to return the items, but you will be charged for shipping.


Before being released for packing, you must thoroughly inspect all shipments to avoid customer returns.

Furthermore, promoting an online return and refund policy will assist shoppers in understanding what to expect from your online store and encourage customer loyalty. It will also encourage customers to report damages online and create user-generated content.

Your customer's expectations are different, or they bought the wrong item.

You can't do much to prevent a buyer from changing their mind about a purchased product once they see it, and you can't stop every error they make.

However, you can guarantee that the photo or online description is correct, clear, and thorough so that the buyer understands what they're buying. For example, when people purchase clothing online, the size and fit may be different when the product arrives.


While avoiding wrong product descriptions will not prevent this sort of return, supplying the client with a detailed description of a product and high-quality images will help to minimize many of them.

Shipping delays or the customer doesn't need it anymore.

A purchase might be considered a "late arrival" by a customer for various reasons. Perhaps they need it for an event that occurred before the item arrived. Maybe they became impatient and purchased it elsewhere.

Late delivery is typically why an item is no longer required, but it can also overlap with the buyer changing their mind.


In any case, the only thing you can do to reduce this type of return is to give clear, real-time shipping information. Preferably with tracking numbers so that consumers know exactly when they'll get their product. Remember to process your orders swiftly so they can ship out on time.

Find out more about third-party logistics fulfillment companies that can help ship your products on time to meet customer expectations. They also help with return and refund policy management.


You've undoubtedly heard the story of a lady who buys a dress for a big occasion and wears it with the tags tucked inside, only to return it a few days later. A businessman who buys a nice new briefcase to carry to an important meeting and then returns after impressing his clients is known as wardrobing.

Many shoppers assume this is a legal practice (believe it or not); it's a fraudulent return.


Try to check customers' history on online shopping and returns. Check how the customer engages with merchants and analyze the reasons mentioned in the refund form extensively to avoid fraudulent returns.

Furthermore, to keep away fraudulent customers, cover approved return policy products, seek to repay them in-store wallets rather than the consumer credit or debit card, and leverage exchange rather than a return.

Customers that participate in wardrobing abuse merchants' return policies, but denying them may leave you dealing with friendly fraud chargebacks because a customer who is ready to purchase and return an item with ill intent is also likely to lie about the reason for the chargeback.

When customers buy the wrong gift

People spend a lot of money on gifts for their family and friends during the holiday season. However, not all gifts are cherished by the recipient.

Some gifts do not meet the demands of the recipients, and hence a return, refund, or exchange for other similar things is the best alternative.


Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do about it. However, utilizing Gift Cards may be a viable option for reducing the chance of a return request.

Gift cards are given as credit, and the recipients spend them on things of interest, preference, color, and size.

Gifting real products matters more to certain people. Thus, providing them with curated gift ideas may be another smart technique to avoid customer returns and increase customer satisfaction.

Damaged or defective products

Customer returns may also happen when the customer buys goods from your online business and receive faulty or damaged goods.

Shipping accidents are unavoidable; even if you send out a perfect item, the worst might happen, and it will arrive in a thousand pieces.


If you receive a lot of complaints about broken things, rethink your packaging technique and take greater precautions to secure your products to ensure you meet your customer's expectations.

Defective items, on the other hand, act as a reminder to review your inventory and strive to eliminate any products that fit that description.

If a lot of your products are being returned as damaged, check your storage methods since moisture, temperature, and other environmental factors can damage many types of products.

Depending on what you sell, you may also have access to batch or lot numbers, allowing you to identify damaged items originating from a specific lot or shipment.

The purchase was fraudulent.

Some people use returns to launder money from stolen credit cards. The fraudster purchases an item with a stolen card and returns it for cash.

One approach to avoid this is to give refunds only to the original card or in-store credit for card purchases. Still, it's much better to eliminate it by utilizing anti-fraud solutions that block stolen card transactions.

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