1) The Rise of Kids Products in eCommerce
eCommerce has profoundly impacted the kids’ product market, with around 25% of all sales occurring online. The pandemic has driven more people to shop from the convenience of their homes. This number is expected to increase continually.
One of the advantages of eCommerce is that it offers buyers a more comprehensive range of choices. Parents can easily compare prices and product features from the comfort of their own homes.
E-Retailers also offer user-friendly shopping experiences and convenient delivery options, which is particularly important for parents who are short on time.
2) Reasons that drive eCommerce product returns in the kids’ category
There is a set of rules to follow for products to be eligible for a Children’s Product Certificate. Everyone is paranoid when it comes to kids’ safety.
Here are some examples. Only plastic zippers and plastic hooks and eyes may be used on clothing. Any toy that could come in contact with a kid’s mouth is checked for dangerous metals.
Shopping for kids products via eCommerce stores has its downside in this regard. Returns are often more complicated than in-store purchases. And dealing with damaged or defective products can be a hassle.
The reasons for returns in eCommerce kids’ products run the gamut. But they can be broadly classified under the following.
2.1) Not as Described
One of the critical issues customers face with kid’s products is when the product they receive doesn’t match the description. This could be anything from sizing. Sizing is riddled with disparity brand-wise and worldwide.
It could be a feature seen in the product description that misleads a customer into thinking it functions in a way it doesn’t. It could offer wrong specifications about the uses and pairing ability of electronic devices, which could be limited etc.
2.2) Product Different From Photo
Often customers end up with a very different product than the one they saw in the photograph. The quality of fabrics and materials may be far inferior. The colors used in the product could be different. What looked like an adorable stuffed teddy bear could have landed clumpy and misshapen. Sometimes the unicorn shoppers see online is not the one they receive.
Most photos are enhanced to increase the magical desirability of a product. Shoppers often receive products where neon colors are often muted. The glitter in the slime may be white and not silver. The product design itself may be a cheaper manufacturing choice compared to the high-quality one posted on the website.
2.3) Hazardous Components
If a child can shove something in its mouth, it will. If a child can poke and prod and pull something, it will. If a child can chew on something, it will.
While the list goes on, these are some of the reasons governments worldwide have imposed a list of safety guidelines and acceptable standards for kids’ products.
Button eyes on toys or working wheels on toy cars, and even the kind of fur in stuffed animals that sheds can present a choking hazard.
2.4) Defective Product
Defined as a reason that prevents consumers from using the product, defective products could cover a range of reasons. Some of the common ones are missing parts, broken parts, manufacturing defects, or incompatible parts. Especially when it comes to home assembly kits for cribs or dollhouses, shoppers could find critical parts missing or damaged parts in the package.
2.5) Wear & Tear on Product
That new pristine book a shopper saw online could have arrived with dried bits of cereal and ear-marked pages. The clothes they bought for their kid could have been stained. The pram could have arrived with worn-out wheels.
Not all wear-and tear on products render them unusable and could be a result of handling and warehousing. But shoppers do rightfully prefer that their products arrive pristine and unblemished. Any little spot on a new product will have them questioning the product’s safety or provenance and requesting a return.
When the product is counterfeit, most safety guidelines are flouted. While counterfeits would do well in the aspirational segment of adults, counterfeit products in the kids’ category can be extremely dangerous. The bassinet could not be as safe as advertised, the baby formula could be adulterated, and the diaper could create an allergic reaction.
Observant shopper parents are often quick to spot any little difference in the items they use every day. They proceed with returns even if they have an inkling of doubt regarding the product’s authenticity.
3) Factors that contribute to eCommerce returns in kids’ products
Any reason that pushes a customer to process a kid’s product return is often the fault of the manufacturer or retailer. Parent shoppers usually research before purchasing, and returns often boil down to one of the following reasons.
3.1) Design Flaw
A design flaw prevents a product from functioning as it should or presents a hazard. Considering the amount of tugging and thudding kids products are prone to, wheels of cars should not come off that easily. The child should not be able to pull the hair out of that doll. That cool printed diaper may possess not-so sticky tabs.
3.2) Misleading Images and Descriptions
This category is a catch-all for misleading sizes, components, materials, usability, durability, product life, and performance. It also covers all manners of description, including images and text, videos, and advertisements.
3.3) Issues in Scanning and Restocking
Retailers should be cautious when scanning and processing kids’ returns. Adults are far keener when it comes to spotting a stain, a fray or a chip on their kid’s product orders. Parents are also unforgiving of errors.
3.4) Incorrect Storage and Warehousing
Stringent conditions imposed on the manufacturing and design aspects of kids’ products. It is imperative to follow it up with meticulous and conscientious storage and warehousing. Since these processes take time and effort, they may be often overlooked. This could lead to sub-par or tainted products.
3.5) Insufficient Packaging
When retailers cut down on packaging costs, the products they ship out can get damaged or go out of shape in transit. Damaged products can hamper safety, while wonky toys can be unappealing, leading to a swift return request.
3.6) Cost-Driven Actions
Any process subjected to cost-cutting in kids’ products will be starkly visible and increase the rate of returns. Every cost-driven decision will immediately impact product safety, which is paramount in all purchase decisions in this category.
4) Why is it Important to Understand Kids’ Product Returns in eCommerce?
Child safety is a priority for parents, from child-proofing homes and rooms to preparing a safe nursery. Even choosing the right products. Any misstep in the processes of manufacturing, stocking, curating, or transit will earn their wrath and lose you a customer.
When it comes to the safety of their children, parents will be unwilling to give your business a second chance. No amount of discounts or freebies can buy their loyalty back.
4.2) Low Possibility of Restocking
The chances of a returned kids’ item going back on stock or at full price is negligible. While some damages can happen in transit and handling, others could suffer minor defects and wear from trial. Since kids’ product price is pretty high, some parents looking for discounts may purchase returned items but only at a steep discount.
This will cost you a pretty penny, and you may wonder if writing off an article makes more monetary sense.
4.3) Lower Margins
Lower margins for profit stems from the fact that kids’ products need to match a set of standards to meet the criteria for certification. This means no cost-cutting is possible at any stage of development.
Most returned product categories will eat into your pocket. This primary reason should drive businesses to understand and reduce product returns.
5) How can eCommerce Returns in Kids Products be Reduced?
It is straightforward to reduce eCommerce returns in the kid’s products category. All you have to be is thorough with where you get your products from, how you showcase the products, and with any and all inspection processes.
5.1) Certified Suppliers and Vendors
Always choose a certified manufacturer for your inventory. This will give you safer and better quality products and yield lesser returns.
5.2) Accurate Pictorial and Text Description
Always be honest with the pictures and words. Customers choose honesty over exaggeration when shopping for their kids.
5.3) Thorough Inspection Processes - Pre and Post Return
Invest in quality inspection checks at various points. From stocking to dispatch, checks will ensure you avoid sending out a defective product. Quick inspections on post-purchase returns will enable quicker turnaround.
6) How ClickPost can Help with Your Returns in Kids’ eCommerce Products
The kids’ category’s vertical and horizontal divisions and sub-divisions are never-ending. And with new products and utility tools plugged in every year, expansion never stops in this booming industry. And with the diverse array of product types and kinds comes the challenge of returns.
We understand that no two businesses are alike and that every returns policy is different. By providing a customizable returns portal that can integrate with your platform, ClickPost enables customers to initiate a return request.
By entering purchase data and any additional details required to complete the application, customers can place a return request. All fields and requirements in the returns form are designed to address the specifications dictated by your return policy.
Returns management can be a real hassle. But integrating with a returns management software like ClickPost makes it easier. You can save your preferences for various steps in the logistics process. The returns software then automates these decisions based on the case in hand.
For example, you may initially choose and save the suitable courier partner by territory or speciality. And they will be automatically matched up and assigned for suitable returns. ClickPost also helps with automated generation and printing of Airway bills. Our returns management software also automates pick-up requests to the logistics partner.
Clickpost’s automated system for managing pickup failures is simple and efficient. What if the courier agent cannot find the pickup location or reach the customer? The system will send a notification to the customer so that they can provide alternate instructions.
If a customer is unavailable to hand over the order, the system will automatically re-schedule the pickup for another time. This system ensures that all return orders are picked up promptly and efficiently, with minimal disruption to the customer’s schedule.
Our returns portal helps you monitor and track all your reverse orders across different carriers. By tracking your inventory’s transit, you will have an idea regarding the expected date of arrival at your warehouse. This means you will have lower volume of stuck stock. And minimize the inventory-based disruption to your business.
Reducing product returns is vital for any eCommerce business, but it’s especially critical when selling products aimed at children. Not only do returns cost time and money, but they also can damage your relationship with customers.
That’s why following best practices for product sales is essential. By ensuring that you select high-quality products, provide accurate product information, and use clear images, you can reduce the number of returns and keep your customers happy.
1) What products in the kids category are non-returnable?
Some common non-returnable products in the kids' category are Silicone Teats, Pacifier, Teether and Soother, Breast Pumps, Ear Syringes, Thermometer, Nappies and Diapers, Diaper Creams, Baby Wipes, Wipe Warmers, Soaps, Baby Shampoos, Baby Lotions, Baby Oil, Baby Powder.
2) How long do you have to return kids' products?
It depends on the store’s return policy. Target accepts returns of Cat & Jack clothing for upto a year- accepting even products with visible wear and tear or heavy stains and reasons such as - outgrown by a child, while Children’s Place and Hopscotch works on a 45 day period with the typical requirement of unsoiled, unlaundered products with original tags and bills.