Honest Marketing: How Online Retailers Can Save on Item Returns

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As online retail stores enjoyed a rise in sales during the pandemic, the frustration of many customers also rose. Some were learning that many times, what they see on their screens could be very different from what’s heading their way in a package. This is especially true for clothes and fashion items as customers could not try them on before buying.

Two things that could bring about this dissatisfaction. First is the customer’s imagination. They might have a wrong perception of body shape and height and think the clothes would fit them as these did the model. The second is the seller’s use of a very different image for the item on sale. A common example is they show Disney products and yet what they’re selling are only rip-offs.

When you sell clothes, you are trying to bring together a person and an appropriate clothing article. In a dating game, a reputable matchmaker would not want to misrepresent the other person. Rather, the good features would be highlighted so that these are noticed first. They don’t disregard the bad things but rather make them less important. It’s an honest marketing strategy and something that’s greatly needed in online retail stores.

Here are what you can do to convince your shoppers that what they see is what they get.

Vary your models.

First of all, if you have varied models, you will likely appeal to more customers of varied sizes, skin colors, and beauty standards. It would be greatly appreciated if a look can be sported in different ways so that women who are either on the thick side or thin side would know how a skirt or a blouse would look on her. The same goes for skin color and maybe even height differences.

People from around the world have already been reacting to the standards of beauty set in fashion magazines. And thanks to these critiques, beauty standards are now more inclusive. It would be better if retailers would listen to these arguments as buyers are not supermodels and have less than perfectly proportioned bodies.

shopping cart logo on laptop

Show your clothes in usual settings.

Online shops usually post catalog photos. The traditional are portrait shots of models against a white background. They make the clothes look nice, but since online buyers couldn’t try them on, it would be nice to see how it would drape the body when sitting down, walking, taking the subway, etc.

Measurements are better than sizes.

Size problems are among the reasons that customers return merchandise. Be specific with the measurements. S, M, L are relative in different countries. If you’re shipping worldwide or sourcing your items from a different country, specifying measurements would be better.

Provide useful info such as the kind of fabric.

The type of fabric would not be immediately obvious by just looking at photos. Buyers would want to know if the clothes they’re buying would wrinkle easily, would be hot, or would be great for outdoor wear in winter.

It would also be greatly appreciated if you use a color chart. An example would be the use of the Pantone Colour Chart. Accompany it with a reference in case buyers are not familiar with the chart. The color on the photo and actual color could vary greatly and could also cause buyers to be frustrated with their purchase.

Arrange your clothes into thematic sections.

The most common organization of items is by type, but not by look. You have sections like ‘dresses,’ ‘pants,’ ‘shirts.’ But it’s rare to see a shop that has a section for bohemian clothes, for casual chic, or maybe grunge.

If you’re trying to sell different kinds of clothes, you could organize your collections into different themes. That way, buyers who are looking for a particular look could go first to that section.

You might want to reason that the customers might be interested in a different look if they see the other items. It’s possible, but what’s more possible is that if their preferred style is overwhelmed by other designs, they might go to their preferred stores. Remember that with online shops, it’s easy for people to click your page, but it’s also very simple to move on if at first glance they don’t find your shop interesting.

With clothing brands, they could go for the generic classifications because they will have one theme for the season. You could also organize your items by brand, but it would be difficult for buyers who are not familiar with some brand names. For example, if a buyer does not know that Rip Curl and Quicksilver, Australian brands associated with surfing and the sea, even if they are looking for that kind of clothing, they would not click on these sections.

For some, the hassle of returning items defeats their annoyance, and they accept what they received. Many, on the other hand, returned their purchases and either demanded money back or wanted replacements. These transaction problems could dent your business, especially as you would be shouldering the shipping costs of the complained items. It is best for you and the satisfaction of online customers worldwide if you follow these tips.

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