Managing returns and exchanges effectively can be tricky for any online retailer, but footwear brands face particularly tough challenges, like bracketing, for example. Since there is no “standard” sizing for footwear, and since shoes need to both fit well and suit the shopper’s sense of fashion, footwear has one of the highest rates of returns in ecommerce.
Learn more about “bracketing” and its effect on the footwear industry here.
In any industry, to maximize the effectiveness of your return policy, you need to build it specifically for your brand. That starts by understanding what your customers must deal with when shopping online, and attempting to creatively problem solve for these problems in an empathetic, yet cost-effective way.
In this blog, we’ll discuss:
- The specific problems facing footwear Shopify stores
- Why returns and exchanges matter for footwear brands
- How Loop can help solve these problems
Let’s start by looking at the specific problems and challenges facing footwear ecommerce stores.
The specific problems facing footwear Shopify stores
It’s only natural that footwear has one of the highest rates of returns in ecommerce. Fit is super important for something that you may be wearing every single day. This means that customers are much choosier when purchasing footwear, and therefore a good chunk of shoppers are going to make an exchange.
The shipping that accompanies these exchanges, however, can be costly and tricky to navigate, and if you sell heavier shoes, like boots or thicker heels, shipping costs can add up. This is especially true if you’re shipping cross-border or internationally.
In addition, with footwear in particular, any noticeable wear on the shoe significantly affects your ability to resell it. For instance, if the shoes get scuffed while the shopper is trying them on, you could be looking at losing the ability to resell the shoe altogether. But it can be tricky to write your return policy to exclude refunds or store credit for shoes which are too worn, especially if you have to process each return manually. This is why returns solutions that offer flexibility are so essential for footwear brands.
Why returns & exchanges matter for footwear brands
Across every industry, the most successful ecommerce stores have effective return policies. Why? Well, today’s ecommerce shoppers are paying attention to how your brand handles returns. They not only expect a good customer experience when they check out, but before and after they purchase from you, too. In fact, 96% of shoppers review online retailers’ return policies before they even make a purchase.
Don’t ignore your return policy just because you don’t want to think about your shoppers exchanging the products they buy from you. If you’re not planning for returns, you’re not only missing out on new customers—you’re also leaving money on the table. Using the right tools, you can leverage your exchanges to retain revenue, delight your customers, and even make additional money on each return using smart upsell strategies.
That’s where Loop comes in.
How Loop can help solve these problems
Here’s a quick look at some of the solutions that Loop provides for these footwear-specific challenges.
To help solve the problem of expensive shipping, you can use Loop’s Workflows tool to customize which options your shoppers have for returning their shoes. If they’re attempting to exchange heavy combat boots, for instance, you can use Workflows to charge higher return fees or incentivize other, less costly return options, like the choice to return in store or drop off at a Happy Returns bar. Workflows can also help you determine whether or not a customer is shipping back shoes that you’ll be able to resell. With Workflows, you can require your shoppers to submit photos of the shoes they’re returning so that you can determine whether they’re eligible for return before you pay to ship them across the country to your warehouse.
You can also use Loop’s Advanced Exchanges to offer different product options during an exchange, that way your customers can switch the shoes that don’t work out for more than just a different color or size of the same pair. Because Advanced Exchanges creates a seamless one-click exchange for the customer, the tool can also help encourage shoppers to exchange rather than request a refund. By making the exchange process as frictionless as possible, you’re also ensuring that your customers have a good experience during their exchange, which helps create a lasting impression of your brand and builds brand loyalty.
Instant Exchanges are also a great option for footwear brands, because they eliminate the need to wait for the customer’s original item to make it back to the warehouse before you ship the replacement. It might sound risky, but with Loop’s Instant Exchange, the customer automatically pays for the replacement item if the exchanged item never makes it back to your warehouse. Because customer shoe size can vary widely between different brands, figuring out which size they need with your store can be tough for first time buyers. Promoting to shoppers that they can ship their exchange order immediately if they get the wrong size can prevent bracketing and ensure they get the right shoe in time for any special event they may need the shoes for.
Finally, Loop’s Insights tool can help you gather important information from your customers about your products. You can learn exactly why shoppers are returning a specific item, and you can ask different questions for different models of shoes to really understand why your customers are returning. With this information, you can adjust your product development as needed, or make the decision to put low-performing items on sale.
Want an expert opinion on your policy, and how a returns platform can help? Get in touch with our team and we will show you what Loop can do.