Online sellers use tech to reduce returns

Dec 26, 2013
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One of the things that cost online retailers the most money are returns. Sellers like Amazon and others need easy return policies to entice customers to shop online. The problem is that some shoppers chronically return items and that is a big problem for the online industry.

Online retailers can’t simply cut off shoppers who make a lot of returns, but they are using tech to help reduce the amount of returns. One clothing retailer called Rue La La is testing out a program that helps to reduce returns by ensuring the person is ordering the right size at the point of purchase.

The Rue La La system looks at the customer's purchase history along with sizing data on purchased items. Using that purchase and size data, if the person has bought the same brand of shirts in small and medium sizes in the past, and typically returns the small, they might see a message that reminds them what they have bought in the past and what they have returned.

The message would say something like "The last time you purchased both sizes, you returned the small. Are you sure you want the small size?" The idea is to remind the customer at the point of purchase that they returned a similar item last time. The retailer says that it has received positive feedback on the feature. Another way some retailers are trying to reduce returns is by giving shoppers who rarely return items more discounts to lure them back in while sending those that often return things less special offers.

SOURCE: WSJ


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