Returns can aggressively attack profit margins, stripping conversion rates, and ultimately threatening your Amazon FBA business. Customer returns are probably the most frustrating and scariest aspects of selling on Amazon. If your return rate keeps increasing, Amazon will suspend your Seller Account, and you would probably not be able to sell on Amazon again. Sales are certainly reduced in value when the customers return the products for whatever reasons. In September 2018, Amazon updated its FBA return policy in an attempt to reduce returns and improve customer satisfaction. That means buyers can return or replace an item for free while Amazon foots the shipping bill.

To make a profit, you have got to bare it all. When customers request to return a product they bought from you, Amazon straightaway takes the return funds from your impending disbursement. Free exchanges or returns are one of the main reasons that make buyers more likely to shop on Amazon.

The returned items on Amazon are deemed ‘unsellable,’ hence; Amazon will dispose of them, or you will have to sell them elsewhere at a lower price like on eBay or the flea market.

Well, don’t get discouraged! Returns are central to buyer experience and are considered the new normal. In fact, how you deal with the returns can help differentiate your product and brand, create a competitive edge, and even make your sales more profitable.

In this post, we will discuss how you can tackle the ‘return’ dilemma in order to keep your Amazon FBA business booming.

Why customers return products after they purchase?

There are plenty of reasons why customers return or demand a replacement for the product they purchased on Amazon. Most of them are legitimate reasons, say damaged or wrong product, while others are due to customers failing to analyze the product ‘in the flesh’ when making the buying decision.

One of the major problems with buying online is that customers can’t see or feel the product in actual. Hence, it takes a lot of convincing to satisfy online customers in influencing their decision to buy a product. Not only customers can’t see and feel the product, but they also can’t feel its texture, taste a sample, and judge its quality.

When it comes to buying a product, customers make an array of judgments about the items that include:

  • Affirmation of reviews on the product
  • The material used and quality of construction
  • Longevity
  • Perceived value

When it comes to selling on Amazon, ineffective listings are the number one reason why customers request to return a product they purchased. In most cases, the Amazon listings leave too much to the imagination of potential customers and force them to make thoughtless judgments based on nothing but a lame product description that may be full of marketing nonsense and images of the product.

Consumable goods and clothing apparel are the two most infamous categories that have suffered the highest Amazon return rates over the years. This is due to numerous issues including dimensions, sizing, material, and disappointment derived from the buyers’ senses.

The buyers will return the products in these primary dispositions:

#1 Sellable

If the product is returned as sellable, it will be returned to your active inventory. However, if you think the product might not be in the sellable condition, you can request a removal order for inspecting the product yourself. But, if you feel the product is in good condition, there is no need to check the product and you can re-sell it to another customer.

#2 Damaged

There are plenty of reasons why the products you sold are returned as ‘damaged.’ For starters, there is a possibility of the product being damaged in the FBA warehouse itself before the shipping process. It is also possible that the product was damaged in transit. If it is so, then it is Amazon’s fault. Or it could be deemed as your fault as well because you didn’t bubble wrapped the products properly before sending them to the warehouse. It is also deemed your failure if you send a damaged product to the FBA inventory. If the mistake is on your side, Amazon will not accept your request for reimbursement. However, if Amazon is the one to blame, you are eligible for compensation.

#3 Customer Damaged Product

Customer damaged doesn’t mean that the customer broke the product and is now attempting to return it. It means that the customer bought the product and opened the package and is currently not in new (sellable) condition. Customer damaged products are not returned to the active inventory. However, in some cases, the buyers tell that they opened the package, even if they didn’t, and it is still in sellable condition. If this is the case, you need to request a removal order and have the product sent back to you. You can then check for yourself whether the product is in sellable condition or not.

#4 Carrier Damaged

In case, if the product was damaged during transit, the shipping company is the one to blame for not taking good care of the product during the transit. If the product was damaged due to the shipping company’s fault, then you should be reimbursed for the return, as it was not your mistake that the product was damaged.

#5 Defective

There are possibilities that product returned to Amazon is categorized as ‘defective.’ This is because the product is obviously defective or damaged or the buyer may have stated it as faulty. If this is the case, the customer is the one who gets the full refund. And the returned product is deemed ‘unsellable’ and will stay in your inventory. Amazon may also dispose of it unless you retrieve it, refurbish it, and sell it on other platform or even your local flea market. Furthermore, there are instances when buyers return the product saying it’s defective for getting a free return shipping, even when the product is in top condition. So, it is critical to review all your returned products yourself so that you can determine whether you can sell them again on Amazon or dispose of them.

Please Note: if the buyer claims that the product he/she received is damaged, but in actual, it isn’t, then it is your duty to protect your Seller Account and fix the false claim. Returns stating ‘defective product’ can harm your seller metrics, and Amazon may suspend your account.

How to reduce the return rate on Amazon FBA?
Fortunately, for Amazon FBA sellers, there is a whole host of workarounds available to help control the concerns buyers have about their items between seeing it on the listing, buying it, and then demanding for a refund after being disappointed for some reason.

Below are some strategies that you can implement for reducing your return rate on Amazon FBA and encourage your target audience to be satisfied with their buying decision.

#1 A Detailed Product Description is Must

A good-quality, robust product description is not only good for SEO, but it will help your potential customers to get a better sense of what you are selling. Although optimizing your product listing is necessary in order to make your product appear in the first page of the Amazon search results, you need to avoid writing a fluff description that is filled with keywords and not a thing about the product itself. You need to provide every information available about the product in the product description so that the customers know what they are buying and they don’t feel deceived when they look at the actual product.

Consider this is an opportunity to list all the benefits and qualities of the product and not some ‘salesy’ marketing approach to attract customers. When writing the product description, include the following information to make it look more real:

  • Sizing and color options
  • Product dimensions
  • The material used and quality of construction
  • Where it was manufactured
  • Satisfaction guarantee and warranty information
  • Link to Return Policy
  • Instructions on how to use the product
  • Answers to common FAQs

Adding relevant details in the product description will help customers visualize the product, and they will know what they are getting into; thus, reducing the chances of returns.

#2 The Primary Product Image Must Boast Exact Product Dimensions

When it comes to buying online, buyers hugely rely on product images. The buying decision is highly influenced by the primary image you used for your product. This is because the image helps buyers visualize the exact dimensions of the product. You need to mention the exact product dimensions in the primary product image so that the buyers aren’t unpleasantly stunned by the physical attributes of the product when they open the package. This point is extremely important to consider especially when the products vary in shape, size, and measurements such as packaging and clothing apparel.

#3 Sizing Guide

If you are selling a line of products of different qualities but of the same category under one brand, you need to provide the customers with a guide or chart of all the possible combinations of your product. This will help the customers set expectations before making a purchase. Different qualities mean the products can vary in color, measurements, shape, size, accessory options, etc. So they need to be mentioned. It is extremely important that you provide numerical values so that the buyers can execute their own measurements. This helps them in choosing the right product variant; hence reducing the chances of product returns.

#4 High-Quality Images with Variety

Unless you are good at product photography, you are advised to always avail the services of a professional photographer for your product’s images. Product images are the first thing that the customer looks at when reviewing your product. They play a crucial role in influencing the customer’s buying decision. If the product doesn’t look like what you showed in the images, then there are higher chances of the customer requesting for a refund and return of the package. So, you need to display high-quality images of your product from all the angles – all the sides, bottom, top, back, front.
On the other hand, you can also provide the customer with a 360° view of your product as it will help the customers retrieve more information about your product. In case, if the product doesn’t have multiple sides to photograph, you can upload close-up shots of the product emphasizing on the accessory, attachments, or salient features. Moreover, if the product you are offering comes in different color variants, you can provide an image that consists of all the variants.

#5 Product Video

A professionally shot promotional video of your product can give your potential audience all the necessary information they require to decide to purchase and stick to the product. A quality video can fulfill your marketing requirements along with performing the duty of description and photography. A product video can provide customers with the following:

  • A full explanation of how the product works and what are its features
  • A full description of the product with vocals or in text form
  • A complete look of the product from all the angles in motion

Amazon promo videos are a new thing, and not all sellers are aware of it. It will be a good thing if you add a product video as it can certainly help reduce your return rates.

#6 Product Guide for Buyers

Along with the product video, you can craft a product guide that features the attributes and functionality of your product. A buyer’s guide will help the customers know more about your product. With a buyer’s guide, the customers will be able to understand what the product is for, what are its applications, how to use it effectively for maximum benefit, etc. When you mention everything about the product, the buyers know what they are getting into; hence, there will be no complaints regarding the product unless it is damaged.


It is all about how you optimize your listing so that the customers know what they are buying. You certainly need to work on your product reviews as well to reduce your return rates. When you have mentioned everything about your product, the chances that the customer claiming ‘it is not what I ordered’ will ultimately reduce.

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