Your User Manuals Are the Key to Reducing No-Fault Return

October 27, 2022
Maili Neverosky

Engaging, easy-to-access product information eliminates pain points for both new and existing customers

Product returns are a growing problem for both manufacturers and retailers. During the pandemic, companies made it easier for people to buy online — and to return products for free if they changed their mind. As a result, the 2021 average rate of returns for online purchases was 20.8% — up 18.1% from 2020. For specific product categories, return rates run significantly higher: 88% in clothing, 44% in shoes, and 43% in electronics.

When it comes to reasons for returns, only 1 in 5 are due to defective products. That means the majority of returns fall into the no-fault found (NFF) category.

Given the cost of logistics, shipping, and restocking, this is a huge bottom-line issue for merchants and manufacturers. In fact, total returns cost U.S. retailers $761 billion in lost sales

Clearly, this is a problem worth spending some time and energy trying to solve. To do that, companies have two key levers: make the return process harder, or make their products better. 

Customers are hooked on easy returns

Making returns harder —  by adding T&Cs limiting shoppers’ ability to return non-defective products, say, or charging a hefty restocking fee — seems like an obvious fix. The reality, though, is that customers have gotten hooked on easy returns. Two-thirds of shoppers now check return policies before buying, and six out of 10 say “no questions asked” return policies are a key factor driving their purchasing decisions. 

Because of this, efforts to make customers think twice about returning a product might simply deter them from making a purchase in the first place. Other shoppers might put the purchase through, but turn to “friendly fraud” and reverse their original transaction with their card issuer if they’re denied a refund. 

Help customers to love your products

That leaves trying to ensure your products deliver so much value that customers don’t want to return them. Of course, you’re already trying to do this at the design stage by making the best product you possibly can, and packing it with features you hope your customers will love. 

But the user experience doesn’t just depend on product design. It also encompasses the way customers discover and unlock the value inherent in your product — and that’s an area where many companies still have considerable room for improvement. 

Information is everything

In the ecommerce era, many shoppers make snap-judgments about new products, and initiate returns if they can’t immediately see how a new purchase will work for their specific use case. Others bracket their orders, buying multiple versions of a product with the intent of returning all but the one that meets their needs.

Both of these boil down to a lack of information. Either the customer doesn’t know how to extract value from your product, or they don’t know which product will provide the value they’re seeking. In both cases, brands can support customers by making product information easier to find and use. In fact, 61% of consumers say that retailers can reduce returns by providing more post-purchase information. The takeaway: retailers need to provide content that gives shoppers a clear sense of what a product is, how it works, and what it looks like – pre- and post-purchase. 

Look beyond user manuals

The good news is that your user manuals already contain all the information your customers need to elevate their experience of your product. The bad news is that user manuals typically go unread, so all that information is currently going to waste.

That’s exactly the problem Conveyer was designed to solve. Using our AI solution, brands can turn dense, hard-to-read manuals into dynamic, intuitive web solutions that current and prospective customers can quickly access to troubleshoot problems, discover new features, and get answers to their questions.

You’ve already done the hard work of collecting the information needed to maximize customer success. Now it’s time to put that information at your customers’ fingertips. So get in touch with Conveyer — and let’s work together to beat no-fault returns.