The Secret to Decreasing Returns While Simultaneously Increasing AOV, CLV, and Overall Sales

Produced by

Mark Steel

Director, Retail & Consumer Industry Solutions EMEA, Google Cloud

Kristin Naragon

Chief Strategy & Marketing Officer

Juan Lopez

Managing Director of Technology Product Development, CITY Furniture

In this session moderated by Kristin Naragon, Chief Strategy & Marketing Officer at Akeneo, industry experts delved into the crucial topic of reducing returns while simultaneously driving up average order value (AOV), customer lifetime value (CLV), and overall sales. The panel, comprising Juan Lopez, Managing Director of Technology Product Development at CITY Furniture and Mark Steel, Director of Retail & Consumer Industry Solutions EMEA at Google Cloud, shed light on the transformative potential of focusing on detailed product descriptions, rich imagery, and on-brand content across all sales channels. They also shared invaluable insights and strategies on leveraging AI to transform business outcomes.

Importance of Prioritizing Product Experience:

Kristin Naragon emphasized the detrimental impact of neglecting product descriptions, citing a potential loss of up to 60% in eCommerce sales. She highlighted the significance of obsessing over product detail pages, images, and descriptions to meet customer expectations and drive sales.

Kristin emphasized, "We are here to talk about the secret to decreasing returns while simultaneously increasing average order value, customer lifetime value, and overall sales."

Financial, Customer, and Environmental Impacts of Returns:

Kristin provided insights into the multifaceted impacts of returns, including financial strains on businesses, customer dissatisfaction due to rigid return policies, and environmental concerns arising from increased carbon emissions and waste generation.

She elaborated, "The financial impact of returns can be substantial, with surveys indicating a 66% cost associated with returns. Moreover, strict return policies can lead to negative customer experiences and environmental consequences."

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Implementing Product Experience Strategy:

Juan Lopez shared CITY Furniture's journey towards implementing a robust product experience strategy, emphasizing the importance of starting with the end customer in mind. He highlighted the significance of comprehensive product information, particularly in industries like furniture, to minimize returns and enhance customer satisfaction.

Juan stated, "We started with the end in mind, designing perfect product detail pages tailored to our customers' needs, including dimensions and other crucial details. Our strategy was to provide a rich content experience on the website not only to increase revenue but to decrease returns."

Harnessing Technology for Enhanced Product Experience: 

Mark Steel underscored the role of technology in facilitating product information management and syndication across multiple channels. He emphasized the need for a centralized repository for product data and the adoption of AI-powered solutions to streamline processes and drive efficiency.

Mark added, "It's crucial to have a single source of truth for product data and leverage technology for seamless syndication across various channels, including AI for product attribution and enrichment."

Impact on Sales and Customer Loyalty:

The panel highlighted tangible outcomes of implementing a product experience strategy, including a significant increase in eCommerce sales revenue, reduced time to market, and improved employee satisfaction. Additionally, they discussed the importance of leveraging AI to enhance customer service and foster loyalty.

Juan remarked, "We witnessed a 60% increase in eCommerce sales revenue and a substantial reduction in time to market, leading to enhanced employee satisfaction and improved customer loyalty."

Key Takeaways:

Prioritize Product Experience: Detailed product descriptions, rich imagery, and on-brand content are essential for driving sales and reducing returns.

Invest in Technology: Centralized product information and AI-powered solutions play a crucial role in optimizing data management and enhancing the customer experience.

Focus on Customer Needs: Understanding customer preferences and providing tailored product information is critical for driving revenue growth and fostering customer loyalty.

Overall, discussion underscored the transformative potential of prioritizing product experience strategy in driving sales growth, reducing returns, and fostering customer loyalty. By leveraging technology and AI-powered solutions, businesses can create compelling product experiences across all sales channels, thereby unlocking sustainable growth opportunities.

MAR 2024