Reasons people may be returning products to your store and how to prevent this

products - storeproducts - store
products - storeproducts - store

Reasons people may be returning products to your store and how to prevent this

As a retail store owner, manager or employee, you will have experienced people returning items. It’s obviously not something you want to happen, but it is inevitable. And, within reason, your customers do have rights with regards to returning items. That is, according to your store policy and the Consumer Protection Act in South Africa on returning goods.

Yes, there will be times when people try to take advantage of your store by returning outfits they’ve already worn or products they’ve already used. But that’s not the norm. Usually, people return goods for legitimate reasons and we’ve listed them here. We’ve also given you and your retail staff some tips on how to prevent these returns from happening. Even though you may feel you can’t do anything about people making the wrong purchases, there are things your sale staff can do.


Clothes that don’t fit

If you run a clothing retail store, you’ll notice that many people buy clothes in a hurry with the intention of trying the items on at home. This is when you’ll receive the most returns if these people aren’t sure of their size. You’ll also witness people who try on clothes and yet aren’t entirely sure that it’s really their style. Sometimes they’ll try on an outfit they love but realise later that it doesn’t fit into their daily lifestyle and was an unnecessary expense.

You may think that there is nothing you can do about this. But you and your staff have the ability to help, given the right training. If your staff members are able to match people’s body shapes to the different sizes in the store, they’ll be able to knowledgeably assist customers who don’t have time to try on clothes. They’ll know whether someone is a size 12 or a size 14 in a particular brand. And if you see someone trying on an outfit and you can tell that they are on the fence about it, rather ask your staff not to push the sale, unless they believe the customer won’t regret it once they get home. They can always suggest an alternative, something that the customer won’t return.   


They regret an expensive impulse purchase

Sometimes people go window shopping and something they truly love catches their eye, but they know it’s out of their budget or it’s something expensive that they don’t necessarily need at the time. It’s only natural then that they may give in and make an impulse purchase. And they’ll be really happy as they take home their new product and will be excited to put it in their home or start to use it. However, once it’s in their home and they look at their bank account, they may realise that they’ve made a mistake.

If your salespeople work on commission, they may be tempted to make the sale by pitching the product in the best way they can. However, if the item is returned, they’re likely not going to make that commission and it will create more work for them. So, it’s better if your staff make sure that the customer actually wants the product and is not on the fence. They could suggest that the customer takes a moment to think about it before buying or introduce them to an item that is slightly cheaper but similar in appearance and function. This way, they at least know that they aren’t risking a return.


The product doesn’t match what they were sold in the store

It’s unfortunate, but sometimes people are sold something they think will perform a certain function and then, when they get home, it doesn’t have everything they need. They may think that the product includes a function it doesn’t have or that it needs another part in order to work.

This isn’t always the fault of your salespeople, the customer may have seen the product online or a friend may have suggested it. But it is your job to ensure that your salespeople are able to explain what each product does, how it works and what it includes. This way, you won’t have people returning goods claiming it wasn’t what they wanted to purchase in the first place.


The item doesn’t suit their needs

Often people make a quick purchase in a rush because they need a specific item in a hurry. But then they get home and unwrap it and realise that it’s not what they actually wanted. And that’s not the fault of your salespeople. The customer walked in, looked around and decided what they wanted.

However, your salespeople can make an effort to ask the customer what it is exactly they plan to use the item for and they suggest that it may not be exactly what they want. They could then prevent the item being returned by suggesting another product that will suit the needs of the customer.

products - store