1) Introduction to Ecommerce Product Returns in Sports Fashion and Accessories
The quote when ‘You look good, You feel good’ is the one true testament in the modern world. Even in activities as competitive as sports, how a certain player looks can dictate the course of the game. On the other hand, creative minds have developed accessories that will give you a competitive advantage over your opponent. Every business had to incorporate ecommerce into its typical business model. The sporting goods world found it difficult to do so, as the choice of accessories and sportswear was mostly made on the quality and the feel. That is why businesses found it very important to incorporate Ecommerce Product Returns in the Sports Fashion and Accessories category.
Technology has enabled ecommerce businesses to enhance the customer buying experience. It is difficult for customers to trust a company and make a purchase in categories like Sports accessories. Ecommerce returns come in handy. New businesses can use it to build trust and improve brand perception in the market.
Ecommerce is a competitive yet virtual space. If you are an ecommerce business in the sports fashion and accessories sector, you will probably face many challenges in scaling your business. But, with the correct mindset, you will find the solution to every problem in technology. To understand the issues and solutions of this sector, we will first have to take a closer look at the challenges in the industry.
2) Challenges in Ecommerce Returns in Sports Fashion and Accessories
The sports accessories sector has always struggled with building a unique brand image that customers can trust. This is mainly because it is difficult to find products that can cater to a more extensive customer base. Each sport has different functional requirements; therefore, the accessories are various in shape and size. This poses some unique challenges to the ecommerce sector. Some of the common challenges in the industry include:
2.1) Packaging Requirements
Sports accessories can come in different sizes, and some can be fragile. There is also the risk of scratching or damaging critical parts of the supplements during transit. The packaging can be easily handled when you are shipping an order. But it becomes difficult to maintain the same level of packaging during the returns process.
2.2) Customer Requirements
Most of the time, customers may have custom requirements regarding their sports accessories. Sportswear is also customized, primarily when used for professional use. If such products are returned, it becomes a headache for the business as they cannot be resold.
2.3) Shipping Requirements
The sports accessories sector will have to deal with sports equipment from time to time. They are still critical in catering to customers' needs. However, sports equipment is bulky and requires special logistical requirements. The same problem has to be dealt with while handling the returns for sports equipment.
2.4) Wardrobing/ Higher Rate of Return
A significant portion of the sales in the sector is activewear/sportswear. Therefore, the industry must also deal with the problems common in the fashion sector. A lot of customers are not sure about the size and the fit of your products. Therefore, they tend to order the same thing in different sizes to return these items.
These are some significant challenges a sports fashion and accessories business has to deal with while shifting towards the ecommerce business model. Although these challenges might make it seem the transition is not worth it. But, there are precautions and best practices that you can implement to reduce the impact of these challenges on your bottom line.
3) Best Ecommerce Product Return Practices for Sports Fashion and Accessories
You are likely to face challenges in any business model you adopt. In the ecommerce sector, the challenges may seem more difficult to handle. But, the advancements in technology have made it possible to handle the ecommerce returns process with ease. You just need to follow some best practices in order to ensure that your bottom line is not impacted. Here are some of the ecommerce returns best practices for sports fashion products and accessories:
3.1) Accurate Size Charts
It's all about the fit in the sports sector. If you do not have proper sizing charts on the product page, customers will likely order multiple sizes and return the ones that do not fit their liking. Therefore, it becomes imperative to add accurate sizing charts for your products. If you are a multi-branded outlet, ensure that you add accurate sizes according to the brand.
3.2) Lenient yet Comprehensive Returns Policy
A returns policy is like a code of conduct. It guides you and your customers through a seamless returns process. In the sports fashion and accessories sector, you must find the right balance between leniency and losses in the ecommerce returns policy. You can always refer to one of the free returns policy templates available on the internet to ensure that you have covered all the required points.
3.3) Sustainable or Reusable packaging
If you deal in fragile sports accessories or fragile goods, you can look into reusable packaging. This will make it easier for the customers to return the product to you safely and reduce the losses in the processes. You can also include packaging requirements in the returns policy and use reverse logistics partners that provide safer returns processing.
3.4) Product Content
Studies have shown that one of the main reasons sports products are returned is that the product did not match the buyer's description or perception. Sports accessories are designed for a particular use. For example, there are different football shoes for hard ground, grass, and concrete. If the product information is not clear enough, the product is essentially used by the customer and, therefore, is returned.
The ecommerce boom took a massive chunk of customers away from the traditional brick-and-mortar. But, certain aspects of these stores were vital to the sports fashion and accessories industry. All the renowned brands own a vast network of showrooms and storefronts that cater to the needs of their customers throughout the globe. Since the sports accessories and fashion sector are all about use-case experience, the returns were an integral part of the shopping experience. But, in the ecommerce environment, it becomes difficult for these brands to process these returns feasibly.
ClickPost has worked with brands like Adidas and Puma to optimize their delivery process. You can use a returns management solution developed by the software with this experience to establish smooth, hassle-free ecommerce product returns for sports fashion and accessories.
5.1) How do I handle Ecommerce Product Returns for bulky sports accessories?
Handling ecommerce returns for bulky sports equipment can lead to logistical complications. You can partner up with logistic partners specializing in hefty equipment shipping. You can also invest in better packaging options to keep your goods safe. It is always better to use returns management software of shipping platforms like ClickPost to get establish an efficient logistics supply chain.
5.2) What are some of the measures I should take to reduce the ecommerce return rate on sportswear items?
The sportswear section usually has a higher rate of return if the product content on the product page does not allow the customer to make a sure-shot decision. You can add accurate sizing charts and invest in 3D imaging to enable customers to get a better virtual experience of the product before the purchase.