Customer returns, exchanges and sizing issues are big challenges faced by eCommerce businesses; challenges big enough that they often result in customer frustration, or worse, churn. Although virtual try on technology has widely been adopted by many accessories retailers, such as eyeglasses retailer Frames Direct, apparel retailers just aren’t able to replicate this experience…. yet. So, while I hang tight and wait for the day a pair of floral denim jeans pop through my Mac screen for at-home try on, I’d like to make three [top secret] suggestions that will help you effectively target your customers, reduce returns, exchanges and sizing issues.
1. USE DATA! Yes, I just screamed that out loud. Not to yell at you or anything, but this is big… Big data big. Think about it, for every purchase your customers have ever made through your eCommerce store, you’ve got valuable transaction information. That includes customer data, product data, recency, frequency and monetary data, and anything else you’ve had them provide to you over their customer lifetime. Now you ask, but what am I to do with this data?
2. Segment. Segment the data so that you can reach the right customers at the right time with the right information. For example, last year I probably purchased 20 scarves. I’m serious. I’m a crazy scarf wearer. From my favorite apparel retailer, I probably purchased 7 of those scarves. It’d be a super easy win for them to create a segment Purchased_Category_contains “SCARVES” and send me [and other crazy scarf wearers] targeted emails every time they released a scarf in a new pattern, because I’d clearly buy them...all of them. But what about premium denim and pencil skirts? These are the types of product categories that see a high volume of returns, exchanges and sizing issues due to fit issues. For these and other similar products, it’s invaluable to use keyword data segmentation. For example, create three unique segments for customers who purchased denim in the following three categories or with the keywords: straight leg, skinny, boyfriend. Or, three unique segments for: petite, slimming, plus size. Set your parameters to “Customers who have purchased X or made a purchase in ABC category” to accomplish this.
3. Send Sizing & How-to Guides. Send automated sizing and how-to guides applicable to the products your customers have purchased. Use historical purchase data to understand what your customers love, then send targeted emails debuting your brand’s spin on the hottest off-the-runways trends, so your avid, skirt wearing fashionista knows how this season’s party pleather is going to fit, and which boots to pair it with [never miss an upsell opp]. Eliminating risk of return is your goal here, but reducing need for exchange is also going to keep you customers content. However, don’t stop there. Send sizing and how-to guides to your customers who have abandoned products recently placed in their cart. These customers might be unsure about the purchase before they’ve even made it, and therefore run a high risk of return. So, send them a short, light hearted or humorous email reminding them about their unmade purchase, pair with a sizing, style or how-to guide to ease their minds, complete with a promo code… and BAM! You are going to be shipping out your last pair of camo cut offs to see them never return.
Final note: always remember to use personalization. Including a first name field (i.e. Hi “*|FNAME|*”…) in your subject line, email body, or both is an easy way to help build lasting relationships with your customers. Because really, who doesn’t want to feel special?
For more on eliminating returns, exchanges & sizing issues, learn how evo reduced churn by automating a 3-part how-to home try on series.
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