eCommerce Product Return RatesThis is in-depth research about eCommerce product return rates.

In this research, you’re going to find:

  • What is eCommerce product return rate?
  • What percentage of customers want free return shipping?
  • What percentage of eCommerce stores offer free return shipping?
  • And much more…

Let’s get right into it.

E-Commerce Product Return Rate Summary

  • At least 20% of all products ordered online are returned while it’s only 8%-10% in Brick-and-Mortar stores.
  • Clothing and shoes are the most returned product category with a return rate of 12%. Electronics is the second most returned product category with a rate of 8%.
  • 65% of returns are due to a retailer’s fault. However, 24% of product returns happen because a customer changed their mind after purchase.
  • 79% of customers want free return shipping.
  • Around 49% of retailers offer free return shipping.
  • 78% of shoppers would buy more if there are free returns.
  • 67% of shoppers check the return page before making a purchase.

E-commerce Product Return Rate Statistics

1. What Is the Average Return Rate for eCommerce?

Average Product Return Rates

At least 20% of all products ordered in eCommerce stores are returned. While it’s only 8%-10% in Brick-and-Mortar stores.

The rate of customer returns is increasing over the years.

According to Statista, in 2020, return deliveries were estimated to cost $550 billion in the U.S alone.

At least 20% of all products ordered online are returned.

This number is almost twice as lower when compared to walk-in stores.

2. What Are eCommerce Product Return Rates by Industry?

eCommerce Product Return Rates by Industry

Clothing and shoes are the most returned product category with a return rate of 12%. Electronics is the second most returned product category with a rate of 8%.

Bags and accessories come at next as most returned product category returned by 6% of shoppers.

Meanwhile, other categories have about a 5% product return rate.

3. What Are the Main Reasons for Product Returns?

Main Reasons for Product Returns

65% of returns are due to a retailer’s fault. However, 24% of product returns happen because a customer changed their mind after purchase.

A study conducted on why a customer may have returned an item revealed that retailers and not customers are responsible for eCommerce returns.

According to the respondents, 24% of product returns happen because customers decided they no longer need/want an item after making a purchase. This indicates that customer personal opinion plays a major role in the return process.

23% of respondents cited the reason for customer returns was receiving the wrong item.

22% was because the item received wasn’t what was portrayed online, and 20% blamed it on damaged products.

Surprisingly, 9% admitted to ordering more than one size or type with the intention of fitting, selecting, and returning several items they didn’t want.

Nevertheless, these findings indicate that 65% of returns are due to a retailer’s fault, even if it was unintentional.

In some cases, the description and sizes were misleading.

The product was mistakenly shipped or carelessly handled during shipping.

Or even worse, a product was received with missing parts or dead on arrival (DOA).

This is particularly common with electronic products.

4. What Percentage of Customers Expect a Free Return Shipping?

Percentage of Customers Expecting a Free Return Shipping

79% of customers want free return shipping.

Online customers are attracted to free shipping. Most customers don’t like incurring shipping fees because it is often viewed as additional costs.

Statistics indicate that 90% of consumers are more likely to shop online when offered free shipping.

In comparison, 24% of consumers are willing to spend more to qualify for free shipping.

And 73% are more likely to purchase a product if it includes no shipping fees.

This shows the extra mile a client is willing to go to avoid paying for shipping.

Similarly, nobody likes to pay for return shipping. Almost 79% of customers want free return shipping.

But, most shops are reluctant to offer free return shipping because they cannot absorb the cost.

5. What Percentage of Retailers Offer a Free Return Shipping?

Percentage of Retailers Offering a Free Return Shipping

About 49% of retailers are currently offering free return shipping.

Even retailers that were against free return shipping are forced to foot the bill to remain competitive.

This number is expected to skyrocket in the coming years.

Free return shipping has numerous benefits to retailers:

  • Boosts customer satisfaction and preference for your products.
  • Encourages conversion rates and boosts sales
  • Creates good customer experience
  • Builds customers’ loyalty to your business

The best way to offer return shipping without incurring so many losses is by having multiple policies in place. Instead of offering a one-fits-all exclusive policy, break it down into different sections.

For example, you can offer free return shipping during the holiday, after holding a mega sale, on certain items on your list, or for items paid full price.

This will help you have a segmented fluid policy protecting you from financial losses and return fraud.

6. Do Free Product Returns Increase Sales?

Free Returns Affect on eCommerce Sales

78% of shoppers would buy more if there are free returns.

Three out of four customers say easy returns are an important factor when choosing a retailer.

78% of online shoppers will buy more if there are free returns.

Also, 84% of customers won’t return to a store if they had a poor return experience.

Also, 86% of shoppers indicate that returning bought items for free makes them loyal and increases their chances of shopping once more with the same retailer.

7. How Important Is Your Return Page?

eCommerce Return Policy Page

A survey on online shoppers revealed that 67% of shoppers check the return page before making a purchase.

Since over 50% of customers check the return page before buying, make it clear and concise.

Remember to find the right balance between self-protection and customer service, especially if you’re a startup or small business owner.

References:

The Plague of Ecommerce Return Rates and How to Maintain Profitability
Ecommerce Return Rate Statistics in 2021: Causes and Best Practices for Product Returns
The Ultimate Guide to eCommerce Returns
Protecting Your Bottom Line: 10 Product Returns Statistics All E-retailers Should Know
More Retailers Offering Free Shipping on Returns
78% of shoppers would buy more if there are free returns
The State of Returns: What Today’s Shoppers Expect
Survey: Online shoppers want returns reassurance