Returns are a retailer’s worst nightmare — they eat away revenue, erode customer trust, and ultimately, can be ruinous for just about any business. But unfortunately, it seems product returns are more common than ever.
Many retailers have told researchers that they have experienced a notable increase in the number of product returns, particularly among digital shoppers, with returns costing sellers more than $600 billion around the world each year. What’s more, in a report released late last year, more than half of surveyed merchants described returns as a problem that “has a negative impact on the day-to-day running of their business.”
Some of this ever-increasing return volume can simply be chalked up to buyer behavior, including customers who buy expensive items to use them once before returning them, those that buy several products at once so they can see what color or size works best for them, returning the rest. But according to many analysts, the vast majority of returns — nearly two-thirds, in fact — are the result of mistakes made by retailers.
These mistakes can often be as simple as delivering the wrong product, or a product being damaged during the manufacturing or shipping process, and can be fixed by simply replacing the product with the proper version. But in many cases, these returns are the result of bad and inaccurate product descriptions or assets, which leave shoppers with the wrong impression or idea of what they purchased.
So how can your business avoid falling victim to product returns caused by bad product depiction?
The answer lies in Product Information Management (PIM) and Product Experience Management (PXM) solutions. These solutions help you optimize your product data and assets, including descriptions, images, and technical details, ensuring that the content consumers find is consistent, compelling, and most important of all, accurate, thereby reducing the amount of customers who return products to bad product depiction.
Enriching product information and assets with PIM and PXM can help your business see real reductions in return rates. PIM users have reported a 40% decrease in product returns, thanks to features such as automated enrichment rules, product completeness monitoring, and validation, which each work to ensure that shoppers are more informed prior to purchase.
Let’s take a closer look at the ways these features can lead to a reduction in product returns.
Automated enrichment rules
Accurately and compellingly completing and enriching product information can be a daunting task, especially for distributors, big-box retailers, fashion companies, and others with a large, varied, or constantly changing product assortment.
Whether you have 1,000 products or 1,000,000 PIM and PXM can help you reduce confusion among customers using automated features. These tools can help your team more accurately and consistently enrich product information while also reducing and even removing tedious and repetitive work from marketers’ to-do lists, leaving them free to focus on crafting accurate and compelling content.
By using automated business rules to standardize and enrich data, for example, you can improve the quality and accuracy of your product information by removing human error, as well as expediting the enrichment process. Automated features can also help you manage product data in bulk, which can help your team more easily create product collections and ensure that matching products will be grouped together.
By adding automation to your enrichment workflow, you can reduce errors in product descriptions and data while giving your team more time to craft compelling descriptions
Inaccurate product data or descriptions are a major reason for product returns — but so is incomplete information.
If you don’t allow customers to easily find all the images, video, measurements, and other product details and data, they are more likely to return the product after receiving it. PIM and PXM, however, can prevent incomplete product information from reaching your customers using product completeness features. These tools provide information about product enrichment quality and help ensure that all of your product attributes have been enriched before a product can be added to your online store or other channels.
Product completeness features can also help your team with their workflow across channels and locales and is the basis of productivity tools like Projects and Views. What’s more, they can be particularly powerful tools in building data governance policies that ensure that future product imports and enrichments are accurate and use high-quality product descriptions and data.
Use completeness features to make sure the product information you provide to customers is complete and consistent, putting an end to customer confusion.
Even after your products have been enriched using automated features and descriptions and data have been completed, there remains a small chance that product information could be inaccurate in one way or another.
After all, no one is perfect — not even your marketing team. Errors are part of human nature, and some big and small mistakes are bound to crop up along the enrichment process. Even if these mistakes are miniscule, however, their effects can be massive. If they lead a customer to purchase a product they otherwise would not have, eventually necessitating a return, it can cost companies more than just the cost of the purchase — it could also drive the customer away for good.
To prevent these mistakes in product data and descriptions to slip through the cracks, a good PIM or PXM solution will offer validation features. These features allow managers or other members of your team to easily verify both the accuracy of individual contributions to product data and the overall completeness of that data.
Errors are unavoidable — what matters is catching them before you publish. Use validation features to ensure product information is complete and correct.
Reduce returns by 40% with PIM and PXM
Product returns are a disaster for brands and retailers — but most are preventable.
By using PIM and PXM features like automated enrichment rules, validation, and product completeness, your team can improve the quality, accuracy, and consistency of your product information. This can help your business reduce returns by as much as 40% and increase customer trust in the process.
Get rid of returns with PIM and PXM! Contact us to learn how Product Information Management and Product Experience Management can help you make sure that customers keep the products they’ve purchased, or download our eBook, Product Information Management 101.