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Beating Amazon — How to Make Return Shipping Work for Your Business

In the ever-evolving e-commerce landscape, Amazon is a retail giant with a reputation for its seamless return process. Consumers appreciate the convenience, but as a business owner, how do you compete? The water is muddied even further when you consider large and bulky items. Getting them into the next room is difficult. Getting them across the country — it can be like arm wrestling a snake.

The key lies in setting the stage pre-purchase, ensuring accurate product descriptions, dimensions, and captivating photos. Additionally, leveraging uShip will make your returns as easy, if not easier, than the retail giant. Let’s explore some tips and tricks on how to win business over Amazon by making reverse logistics work for you.

Creating Accurate Product Descriptions

Before a purchase even occurs, lay the groundwork for a positive post-purchase experience by providing thorough and accurate product descriptions. Ensure your customers know exactly what they are getting, reducing the likelihood of dissatisfaction upon receipt. Highlight key features, specifications, and potential use cases, giving consumers confidence in their purchase decisions. This can be particularly hard with things like color — we’re all viewing these products on screens with different color calibrations

To do this, your product must have actually accurate dimensions. I don’t know how many times I’ve bought and built a piece of furniture only to have it not match the measurements that were touted online. When your customers budget space for something and this happens, it’s maddening.

Bottom Line: you’re asking for a return, or a lot of them, if you aren’t providing good product descriptions.

High-Quality Product Visuals

Good visuals can sell the product faster and more efficiently than any product description. Those images, especially in large and bulky items, stop the scroll. They catch your attention and lead you to the description. Without them, good luck getting anyone to complete a purchase.

Don’t skimp here. Cell phone photos can be fine, but make sure you’re uploading plenty, that the lighting is good, and that you capture the scale and scope of the item. If you can afford it, hire a professional in this area who knows how to use certain photographic principles to make your product images the best they can be.

What’s the best way to show scale? Take images with the product near common everyday items. This can go further than even having the product dimensions.

While you can hope that your customers will thoroughly check dimensions, most of us online shoppers are lazy…myself included. I once purchased some decorative crates. I thought they would be, you know, crate-sized. I didn’t read the measurements. When I got them, I was shocked that my cell phone would barely fit in them. That was my fault. They were expensive. I should have read the whole description.

What’s more is I didn’t return them. They wanted some crazy amount to ship back six tiny tic-tac crates.

I didn’t buy from them again.

Clear, Concise Return Policy Language


While Amazon has a straightforward return process, you can outshine them by having a transparent and customer-friendly return policy that makes large item returns simple for your buyers.

Clearly communicate your policies regarding return windows, conditions, and whether return shipping is free. Make the process easy to understand and hassle-free, creating a positive experience for customers even when they decide to return a product. Do this, and you’ll build loyal customers. In fact, a recent uShip study discovered that 95% of buyers who have a good return experience will buy again from that company.

If you couple great product descriptions with clear return expectations, you set your bottom line up for less return-based impact. Also, when you partner with uShip to handle those returns, you can further drive those shipping costs down and decrease your damage rates (ours are the lowest in the biz).

Our first-to-last mile return service ensures that the product doesn’t change hands more than necessary. When carriers pick up an item, they take it to its final destination with no other hands touching it in between. It’s how we get those best-in-industry damage rates.

Personalized Customer Service

Offering personalized customer service sets you apart from the automated responses of big players like Amazon. Make your customers feel valued by providing quick and helpful assistance from real human beings. Addressing concerns promptly can often prevent a return from happening in the first place.

When customers feel heard, especially when dealing with a large and bulky return, they build loyalty to the party helping them. This comes back as repeat sales.

Incentives for Exchange Instead of Return

Encourage exchanges instead of returns by offering incentives such as discounts or free shipping on the replacement item. This not only retains the customer but also turns a potential loss into an opportunity for additional sales.

Making that exchange is easy when you use uShip for the return of the old AND delivery of the new item. First, the return will arrive back to your warehouse or shop in its best possible condition. Because of our first-to-last mile model, touchpoints are mitigated which drives those damage rates so low. The delivery of the new item can also be handled by uShip which further streamlines the whole process.

Leverage Customer Feedback

Actively seek and utilize customer feedback to continuously improve your products and the shopping experience. Positive feedback can be a powerful marketing tool, while constructive criticism provides insights for refining product descriptions and other elements that impact returns.

When a return claim is filed online, if you aren’t already, leave an open response box to allow the customer to explain why the return is necessary. Prompt them for any other feedback they might like to leave there, too.

Subscription and Loyalty Programs

Implement subscription or loyalty programs that reward repeat customers. Offering exclusive deals, early access to sales, or free returns for loyal customers can build a community around your brand, making customers more inclined to stick with you despite the convenience of Amazon.

These programs don’t have to cost your buyers anything. They also don’t need to have a massive barrier to entry. What they do need, however, is to feel exclusive and offer a real benefit. The free shipping idea? It will go a long way for customers who like to buy new things — tap into that. With uShip, you can keep shipping costs low with our competitive rates.

Sustainable Packing and Practices


Incorporate sustainable packaging and eco-friendly practices into your business model. Many consumers are becoming increasingly conscious of their environmental impact. By aligning your brand with sustainability, you attract customers who appreciate responsible business practices, potentially reducing returns based on environmental concerns. Sustainable shipping is often less expensive, too.

Beating The Likes of Amazon Can Be Easier

While Amazon’s return process is undeniably convenient, numerous strategies exist to compete and even surpass their customer experience. By focusing on the pre-purchase stage with accurate descriptions, photos, and dimensions, and implementing uShip for hassle-free returns, you can create a customer-centric approach that not only matches Amazon’s convenience but also adds a personal touch that larger platforms may lack.

The key is to turn returns into an opportunity for customer satisfaction and loyalty, ultimately positioning your business as a strong competitor in the e-commerce landscape. Once that happens, loyalty falls in place.