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7 Strategies to Make the Most Out of eCommerce Returns

Do you have a strategy in place to make the most out of your eCommerce inventory turnover?

If not, don't worry. Here's the deal -  


We know that excess, aged, and returned inventory are unavoidable. Sellers need to be prepared to deal with inventory turnover and returned products. Make sure you're ready to deal with losses. Customer returns impact your inventory turnover rates and can decrease your bottom line.

Check out these quick facts to learn more:


Customer returns don't have to hurt your inventory turnover ratio. These are 7 proven eCommerce strategies you can implement right now to make the most of your eCommerce returns. 

7 Strategies for eCommerce Returns to Keep Turnover High

Check your marketplace rules to learn what you can and can't do in terms of returns. Tophatter, for example, makes returns hassle-free for sellers to avoid an "all sales final" policy and save online merchants from restocking fees that can negatively affect the shopping experience.

While many eCommerce merchants try to adopt more rigid return policies, reports show that you are better off accepting customer returns if you want to keep turnover high.

Focus on developing these key inventory strategies to offset eCommerce returns and keep turnover high:


1. Make Sales Count

Sales are one of the best ways to breathe new life into returned inventory. Clearance sales, flash sales, item-specific sales, and seasonal sales are worth consideration. They may seem like an obvious answer, but that's because they work.

Inside Seller Tip: Keep the discount to between 35 percent and 75 percent.

2. Bundle Those Products

Product bundles can be a great way to keep inventory turnover high without offering deep discounts. A moderately discounted bundle can have the same results as a deeply discounted individual product. Try grouping slow-moving, excess inventory with fast-moving, highly desired products, or bundle multiple units of the same product.

Insider Seller Tip: Bundle complementary products together, especially around the holidays, to boost turnover.

3. Re-purpose Low-Cost Returned Inventory as Incentives

Try re-purposing low-cost returned inventory to attract email sign-ups. Giving away a freebie in exchange for emails is a tried and true subscriber incentive.

4. Incentivize a Larger Order Size

Many sellers are raising their average minimum order to qualify for free shipping. Consider using your returned inventory as an add-on. By adding that product to their purchase, customers will qualify for free shipping and you'll unload some of that lingering volume.

5. Switch Up Advertising and Placement

Update your product descriptions by choosing a new way to describe the product and its specifications. Take new product photos and adjust the keywords to target a new or varied market. Advertise the product as "back in stock." Anything that creates buzz will generate interest and purchases.

6. Return Your Returned Inventory

Sometimes your manufacturers will accept returns or exchanges. Let them know it was the wrong market and what kind of shape the inventory is in, such as undamaged packaging. They'll often be willing to make something work if they want to keep you as a customer.

7. Donate Your Returned Excess Stock

You can always donate your returned stock and take a tax deduction. Give women's apparel to a women's shelter. Donate school supplies to any number of education-based initiatives. If you have luxury or highly desirable items, consider donating to a nonprofit silent auction.

Tax deduction aside, you will benefit from the publicity, especially if you put an announcement banner on your site, send a news release, and talk about it in your newsletters and push notifications.


Try Out These Inventory Strategies to Make the Most Out of Your eCommerce Returns

Don't let inventory turnover break your bottom line this quarter. Since eCommerce returns are an inevitable, you ought to be making the most of them. Try out these inventory strategies to keep turnover high while making the most out of your returns. 


Michelle Lievense is a long-time business and marketing consultant who enjoys helping businesses and brands, particularly through her writing, craft and implement successful business strategies. When she isn't tapping her keyboard, she's hiking the Colorado Rocky Mountains with her dog, snuggling next to her cat with a favorite book, volunteering, skiing, or scuba diving




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