Picture this: Sarah, an avid online shopper, eagerly anticipates the arrival of her long-awaited purchase. However, upon unboxing her item, she’s dismayed that it doesn’t quite match the description or appearance she saw on the website. Disappointment sets in, leading Sarah to initiate a return process, adding to the statistics of product returns that plague the retail industry.

Product returns are a significant concern for retailers worldwide. The rise of ecommerce has brought convenience to consumers’ fingertips but has also led to a surge in return rates. According to the National Retail Federation, returns accounted for nearly $428 billion worth of merchandise in 2020 alone, signifying a daily challenge that retailers grapple with.

Despite these challenges, Digital Shelf Analytics can help you navigate it. Leveraging advanced technology and data-driven insights, retailers can significantly reduce product returns by ensuring that what customers see online aligns seamlessly with the products they receive.

The impact of product returns on retail

To understand the gravity of the issue, let’s delve into some statistics:

  • The Cost of Returns: According to a report by Appriss Retail, returns can cost retailers up to 10-15% of their total sales revenue.
  • Reasons for Returns: Research conducted by Narvar found that 22% of returns were due to the product not meeting customer expectations set by the online description.
  • Consumer Behavior: Statista reveals that 30% of online orders are returned, compared to 8.89% in brick-and-mortar stores.

Product returns can have a detrimental effect on a business from both a financial and environmental standpoint. Many returns occur due to items not matching the product description, incorrect fit or style, customer dissatisfaction, or damaged/defective products. 

Regardless of the reason for the return, the costs associated with processing and logistics, as well as the resulting product waste, can be significant. Additionally, frequent returns can erode brand loyalty, particularly if products consistently fail to meet customers’ expectations.

product return

Identifying common causes of product returns

To effectively reduce product returns, it is crucial to understand their underlying causes. A poor digital shelf experience can lead to many returns since customers browse and buy on digital shelves. Inaccurate or incomplete product information, visuals, or incorrect product-part components can all contribute to customer dissatisfaction and subsequent returns. Therefore, monitoring and optimizing the digital shelf is essential for online retailers.

Reducing product returns by leveraging Digital Shelf Analytics

Three critical aspects of digital shelf operations can be analyzed using digital shelf analytics (DSA) software: buyer behavior, product performance, and channel competition. Businesses find out what their customers prefer, identify improvement opportunities, and stay one step ahead of their competitors by analyzing this data.

Ensure accurate product information

One of the main reasons for product returns is inaccurate or inconsistent product information. A small error, such as a missing letter or digit in the product info, can significantly affect customers. Digital shelf analytics software helps businesses maintain accurate and consistent product information across all their channels. By identifying any discrepancies or inaccuracies, companies can take corrective measures to avoid returns caused by misinformation.

Maintain brand integrity

Ensuring a consistent brand image is critical to attracting customers and fostering trust. Businesses use digital shelf analytics software to detect attributes like missing images, negative reviews, and other factors affecting your brand image. By promptly addressing these issues, companies can ensure that customers clearly understand their brand and products, reducing the likelihood of returns due to misunderstood or misrepresented brand attributes.

Keep an eye on prices

Price consistency plays a significant role in customer perception of the products. Fluctuating prices across digital shelf channels can erode customer trust and increase return rates. Digital shelf analytics software enables businesses to monitor and analyze prices across multiple channels, ensuring they stay up-to-date and competitive. By promptly adjusting prices, companies can mitigate the risk of returns caused by price discrepancies.

product reviews and retention

Leverage the power of product reviews

Product reviews are a vital factor influencing your customers’ purchasing decisions. Digital shelf analytics software allows businesses to monitor and analyze customer ratings and reviews. It enables them to correctly identify the real sentiments associated with the product performance and address negative feedback. By actively managing product reviews, companies can build trust in their brand and products, reducing the likelihood of future returns.

Better analytics, better decisions

Data is the backbone of any analytics. Digital shelf analytics is a cutting-edge technology in the digital retail space that offers actionable insights that inform decision-making in an omnichannel strategy and digital shelf optimization efforts for ecommerce businesses. Embracing digital shelf analytics is a transformative step toward selling smarter online, improving customer experience at every touchpoint, and reducing product return risks. 


As the retail landscape evolves, the significance of Digital Shelf Analytics (DSA) software in mitigating product returns cannot be overstated. By harnessing the power of data-driven insights, retailers can align customer expectations with reality, fostering satisfaction and loyalty while curbing the costly cycle of returns.

The future of retail success lies in offering products and delivering consistent and compelling experiences. With DigiSense360, a powerful DSA as a guiding force, retailers can pave the way for a more seamless, satisfying, and sustainable shopping journey for consumers worldwide.

DigiSense360 empowers retailers and brands to fine-tune their product listings, aligning them precisely with customer expectations. This advanced analytics solution extends beyond mere digital shelf optimization, it is a strategic ally in forging stronger consumer relationships. Talk to our experts to reduce return rates and foster loyalty and trust in an increasingly competitive market.


Asmitha is a Content Marketing Specialist. She helps businesses leverage content and storytelling to build a compelling online presence. She enjoys traveling and hanging out at libraries when she is not at work.

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