Key Steps to Reduce eCommerce Returns After the Holidays

Businesses must prepare in advance to minimize post-holiday season returns by closing the gap wherever possible.

According to Digital Commerce 360, shoppers in North America are predicted to spend $916.42 billion in 2022, including both online and offline purchases, where the share of digital sales will be 24.5%. Simply put, every single dollar out of the four dollars spent in retail will be attributed to online sales in 2022.

And going by the returns registered in 2021, which saw a 41% rise in comparison to 2020, where most of them occurred between Christmas and the New Year— one thing is sure, even if the returns are smaller this time, they won’t be ignorable.

However, that is not to say that customers don’t expect holiday season shopping to be any less smooth, easier, and faster than the rest of the year. In fact, offering delightful buying experiences to customers during the holiday season is most challenging, but if executed well, it can be highly rewarding for enterprises.

Amidst the chaos lies immense opportunity. But shoddy products, discrepancies, and inconsistencies in product data can ruin even the best enterprise planning. Here’s taking a closer look at what goes into making product data your greatest weapon for holiday sales.

 Also read- Is Your Digital Commerce Business ‘Holiday Shopping Ready’?

 

It starts with Data Integration

It’s like everything that can go wrong has the potential to go wrong right at the start. Integration of data is that stage for enterprises—primary, yet crucial. Gathering all the product data present across your enterprise’s IT landscape, including those scattered across systems like CRMs, ERPs, BI, ESB, apps, and hard drives, becomes the logical ‘first step.’ It’s essential to integrate as well as import data easily in various formats such as CSV, XML, JSON, XLSX, including fetching data from remote locations like HTTP or SFTP. Tasks like data updating, defining locations, publishing, and cleaning up the existing data, cannot be left to manual handling. It needs an automated system; especially at a time such as the holiday season when many new products flood the market. Going without it can be a self-goal.

 Also read- PIM SAP Integration

 

Perfect your Data Quality Management

Product data plays a far more significant role for manufacturers and retailers than what meets the eye. From data accuracy, completeness, and versioning to creating a central view of data across the organization, enterprises must put proper mechanisms in place. So, incorporating software and functionalities that describes your data flawlessly, enhance quality, and examine its completeness are non-negotiable for enterprises. Data auditing and versioning are also integral aspects of data quality management. Making product data comparisons between different versions among departments and functions and deploying the approved version for use needs to be prioritized. With such functionalities in place, it can be easily made sure that data can be restored back to any version at any time.

 Also read- Why You Must Perfect Your Data Management Strategy?

 

Ease it up for Suppliers: Supplier Portals

Another crucial source of your data is your suppliers or contributors of product components that go into your products. They can be manufacturers or aggregators but also providers of product data. Supplier portals, also known as ‘supplier information management software,’ are built to replace manual processes vis-à-vis transactions with suppliers. It is a fast and secure way to exchange information. It streamlines operations and offers better supervision, retrieval, and management of suppliers’ product information. It also contributes to better coordination, compliance, and ensures minimum risks of compromising product information while simultaneously improving efficiency. Suppliers are important stakeholders contributing to key product aspects; hence, information exchange with them must be as transparent as possible.

 Also read- A Complete Guide to Supplier Relationship Management

 

Managing Catalogs Flawlessly

Product catalog management goes beyond descriptions and UX as the ultimate decider of good business is whether visitors convert into shoppers. From granular product categorization and classifications, incorporating content mapping algorithms and high-end SKU management matters greatly—so that users’ searches bring up precise results. Also, catalogs may need immediate, real-time customizations, especially if operations are global, as they may need language translations and currency conversions on the go. Product catalog management is a specialized domain that treats catalogs as not just marketing collateral (to showcase information) but a methodical approach that relentlessly works at uncomplicating shopping experiences while developing and nurturing an aesthetic and emotional relationship with customers.

Product Data Syndication to Save the Day

Experiences are undoubtedly linked to the fate of products; therefore, it matters how product data is syndicated on various customer-facing channels. Smooth collection and standardization of product information emerging from any source and belonging to any format lay the foundation for effective product data syndication. Tailoring product content that fits the unique needs of just about any output channel is required to ensure channel readiness. Sophisticated customization and optimization options that include intuitive editing to modify prices, character counts, and changing formats can instantaneously structure any incoming product information, unleashing high performance on every channel. Effective product information syndication also facilitates the auto-generation of creatives for each product while filling in information dynamically to develop logos, titles, promo details, etc.

 Also read- PIM & Product Content Syndication for Retail

 

Wrapping Up: Reducing Returns Is Not That Hard

If every aspect around product data is investigated granularly; a golden version of information is created, data silos are brought down, accurate and rich information is disseminated to every channel, data sharing gets ingrained into everyday enterprise functioning, a data-driven culture is nurtured across the enterprise-partner-vendor ecosystem— reducing returns is definitely not hard.

And once you’ve got the information right, if you blend it with high-end contextualization, personalization, searchability, localization, automation, product information management, analytics, and AI/ML— it gets even easier to decrease returns.

Retailers and manufacturers are the hardest hit with post-holiday season returns, often dubbed as the ‘Nightmare after Christmas.’

But with the right product data management, not just returns but the associated costs such as refunds, pick-ups, time, and effort spent by other enterprise departments all stand to reduce while customer loyalty and retention goes up.

Want to know the features & benefits of Pimcore PIM platform and how they meet your business requirements? Schedule a FREE demo with Pimcore consultants.

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Rajneesh Kumar
  • Associate Director Marketing
27 articles by this author

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