Who knows what leads a customer to return a purchase? Honestly, if you did, you’d probably be reading this from your yacht, anchored off the Seychelles. Sounds nice, right? Start thinking about how to manage returns and you could be on your way!

Let’s approach the problem of returns like Descartes, and break them down into three smaller parts: customer returns, merchant returns and fraudulent returns. All three can be mitigated, and ‘thar be revenue in it for those that do.

Many returns are just poorly optimized sales.

Let’s start with the easy one first: Merchant returns. These are caused by the merchant. Products that don’t match descriptions, wrong items/size/color were shipped, or something was promised that was not delivered at all. These are some of the most common returns of all, and yet they’re 100% preventable. As the merchant, you have the power to fix these.

If you’re hearing these issues from customers or seeing them in your chargeback reason codes, address the causes. Optimize your sales descriptions and fulfillment process. Provide as much detail for your customers to interact with your product prior to purchase and returns will decrease. Taking these steps will also give you better standing to deny returns if it’s ever warranted.

More Winning from ChargebackHelp:

Prepare for pirates or get plundered.

Fraudulent returns come in many schemes, but once you identify them, you can foil them. There’s the frauds—both criminal and friendly—of course; again, your chargeback reason codes will expose your vulnerabilities there. But there’s also scammers that operate under the radar. Wardrobers take your product for a spin and then return it used. Swappers will return a similar product that is either used or of lesser value than the one purchased from you.

In all these cases, if a perpetrator gets away with it once, they’ll keep coming back for more. You need to be on the lookout for the next attempt. Thoroughly inspect returned items and keep a record of your returns. Recidivists will expose themselves in those records and you can take action against them.

Transform customer returns into return customers.

Customer returns are tough because there’s not much you can do in the way of prevention. Customer returns happen in instances like gift purchases, where the recipient doesn’t want what was gifted. Sometimes the purchasers themselves no longer need what they bought once they receive it. If you’ve done all you can to prevent merchant and fraudulent returns, these instances really can’t be helped.

What you can do is impress your customer with the service they receive from their return so that they’ll want to buy from you again. You might also design special offers to retarget these customers in the future. After all, these customers are highly qualified leads in that they’ve come to you, wallet in hand already.

Returns have value.

Don’t look at your returns as “the ones that got away.” They provide value. They can help you optimize your sales pitch, reinforce your fraud defenses, and set you apart from your competitors. Remember that most returns are just poorly managed conversions. Learn and adapt from your returns and you can transform them into added revenue.