Online stores should focus on minimising returns to reduce environmental impact

New Ideas in MarketingEssential news for marketers, summarised by YouGov
December 01, 2021, 5:15 PM UTC

On average, 20% of all online purchases are returned while the figure is only around 9% for physical stores.

Brands are selling returned items in second-hand stores and even creating clothing from recyclable materials. Yet, only 54% of all packaging gets recycled and five billion of all returned goods land up in landfills every year. Additionally, many retailers are also known to burn, shred and destroy returned and unsold items, just to ensure their brand value stays high.

Instead of paying more attention to what to do with returned items, brands must prioritise cutting down on returns in the first place. Leveraging AI and machine learning can help brands minimise returns by analysing vast amounts of customer data to understand why customers return products.

These insights can help brands offer products that align with customer needs, minimise returns and reduce environmental impact. Marketers must also draft detailed and exhaustive product descriptions, coupled with AR/VR tools for virtual try-ons to cut down product returns.

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