How to Reduce Ecommerce Return Rates with Relevant Product Descriptions


How to Reduce Ecommerce Return Rates with Relevant Product Descriptions

Returns can decrease your online store profit margins, dragging down conversion rates, and ultimately threatening your business.

The average global conversion rate for an online store is only 2.86%. (1) At the same time, the average order return rate is 20%. (2) It means that returns reduce the actual conversion rate to only 2.28%.

There is a variety of factors that affect e-commerce return rates.  One of the reasons for the product returns is insufficient or incorrect information about the items being sold.

How can we reduce the order return rate due to insufficient information?

Including the right information about products in your online store helps potential customers make informed decisions, increase your conversion and at the same time reduce returns.

Each category and type of merchandise have some critical information that product descriptions must include.

Below we review key attributes you should include in the product descriptions by 3 major product categories:

Online Fashion Stores

  • Care instructions – how to care for the garment, including washing instructions
  • Model size – if a model is used in the picture it is helpful to reference the size he/she wearing and their measurements
  • Size guide – always include an easy link to a product guide that is mobile friendly
  • Country of origin – where is the product made
  • Material – what is the item made from, if made from more than 1 material, include all others as well
  • Brand information – important information about the brand

Example of the product description from Asos


General Goods/Electronics

  • Key Features – quick points about the product
  • Dimensions – include the size of the box as well as of the actual product
  • Manuals – should always be provided in PDF format
  • Country of origin – where is the product made
  • Assembly instructions – should be always referenced in PDF format
  • Care Instructions – if special care is needed for the product, for example: “avoid damp places”
  • Warranty – how long the warranty is for and if different parts are covered by different warranty include them all
  • What is included – list all key components that are included with the product, including cables, etc.
  • Finish – if the product has any paint or finishing material that needs specific attention
  • Material – what materials is the product made

Example of the product description from Home Depot online store


Cosmetics/Skin Care

  • What it does – a short description of the main purpose of the product
  • Ingredients – What are the key ingredients in the product
  • Country of origin – where is the product made
  • Size – include the size of the product
  • Fragrance – if applicable what does the product smell like
  • Skin Type – what skin is the product best for
  • Environmental concerns – for example: “not tested on animals”
  • How to use – for example: “only used on clear skin”

Example of the product description from



Keeping comprehensive product descriptions in your online store helps improve conversions and reduce returns. Provide product descriptions that help your customers make an informed decision about the products they are purchasing and also how to use them after. Some upfront planning and investment in preparing quality product descriptions would save you unnecessary customer service costs, increase sales and reduce returns.


  1. The Average Website Conversion Rate by Industry (updated November 2018),
  2. The Plague of Ecommerce Return Rates and How to Maintain Profitability,
Anna Battrick

Anna Battrick is Eradium’s Director of Ecommerce Services, has an extensive background in retail marketing and project management. With over 10 years of managing complex projects from inception to completion while always maintaining “it can be done” spirit. The world of retail is not only a professional interest but also a personal hobby which lets Anna see the other side of retail, from a shopper perspective. This helps create engaging marketing programs that speak personally to the shoppers interests and engage them in a conversation.