eBay & Amazon Customer Return Rates & Tips to Reduce Them

eBay & Amazon Customer Return Rates & Tips to Reduce Them
Customer Returns can be real profit killers.  In general, return rates average between 5% and 14% overall on Amazon and 7% to 15% on eBay, but some categories can have much higher rates.  There is no hard data for these rates, so most of the information is anecdotal, gathered from other sellers and my own personal experience.

eBay tends to skew about 2% to 3% higher because people are dealing with individuals.  Although just over 50% of all sales on Amazon are from individual sellers, since over ½ of those sellers use FBA, the rates tend to be lower than eBay’s.

Online retail in general usually has higher buyer return rates than average (about 2-3 percentage points), because customers cannot feel & touch the product before they buy And, Amazon (and now eBay to a lesser extent) have very liberal return policies.

Products with Reasonable Return Rates (Typically less than 10%).

The variance tends to be a factor of the sub-category.  For example, in the Garden category, solar lighting products can be as high as 12% to 14%.

  • Books and Media (Music, Movies, games, etc.) tend to have lower return rates in the 5% to 7% rate.
  • Home & Kitchen – 8% to 10%
  • Garden – 7% to 10%
  • Automotive accessories – 8% to 10%
  • Art, Crafts & Sewing – 7% to 9%
  • Grocery & Gourmet Food 9% to 12%
  • Sports & Outdoors – 8% to 10%
  • Tools and Home Improvement 8% to 10%
  • Pet Supplies (hard goods – 10%, treats and food – 15%)

Higher Return Rate Categories:

  • Consumer electronics – 25% to 35%
  • Baby – 15% to 25% depending on subcategory
  • Clothing – 28% to 36% (Color and size tend to be the most reported reason for returns)
  • Cell Phone accessories – 30% to 40%
  • Fine Jewelry – 30% to 40% (Sterling silver usually does better than fine gold, and products with precious stones tend towards the higher end of the range)
  • Fashion Jewelry – 16% to 25%
  • Clothing accessories
    • Fitted items with sizes – 25% to 30%
    • Non-fitted (size) items – 18% to 21%
  • Toys and Games – 15% to 18%
  • Beauty & Personal Care 16% to 20%

Tips to reduce return rates

  • Write complete and accurate descriptions
  • Help buyers with sizing information (Size charts, etc.)
  • Render colors accurately
  • Carefully inspect packages sent to FBA for accuracy information
  • Send returning buyers a polite and respectful email asking them the precise reason for their return
  • You can use this feedback to prevent future returns

Tip to reduce return costs

  • Savvy Amazon buyers have learned that if they claim an item was defective, then Amazon pays their return shipping. The problem is I often get items back where the package has never been opened.  When this happens, I take a photo and open a support with Amazon.

This will occasionally cause Amazon to reverse my refund cost, but also causes Amazon to look at the buyer’s account.  If they see a lot of returns with the reason given as “Defective,” then they may block that buyer in the future.

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *