If your product has a high return rate on Amazon, it’s not going to stay a secret for long.
Recently, I read the news that Amazon is publicly labeling products with unusually poor return rates, via a box at the top of the product details page. Amazon now declares that an offending product is a “Frequently Returned Item,” and warns customers to check the reviews to learn more.
Here’s my takeaway: For brands, the “Frequently Returned” label just makes it all the more important to proactively monitor your return rate.
The last thing you want is for Amazon to warn shoppers not to buy your product.
Amazon is introducing its “Frequently Returned” label right as returns seem to be on the rise. In 2022, 32% of Amazon sellers saw an increase in return rates.
The average return rate on Amazon varies wildly by category, but it is usually between 5% and 15% for most products. Some categories, like clothes and electronics, have a much higher rate.
Amazon hasn’t disclosed how it determines when to add a “Frequently Returned” label to a product. Few ASINs have received this label so far, and we don’t know much about how extreme their return rates are.
But if your product is well above the average return rate for your category, it’s probably time to get cautious.
The good news: Amazon is making it easier to see your returns data
In March 2023, around the same time as it created its “Frequently Returned” label, Amazon added a new analytics feature called “Return Insights” to its Amazon FBA portal. Navigate to Inventory -> Manage FBA Returns, and you can find the returns tool under the drop-down.
The Return Insights tool lets sellers track how their return rate has changed over time. They can see the trend across several intervals, from the past 30 days to the past 1 year. This tool also lists out the most-returned ASINs and the top reason that each one was returned.
Still, the Return Insights tool has some drawbacks.
- No single view: It generates separate reports depending on whether the product was Fulfilled by Amazon (FBA) or Fulfilled by Merchant (FBM), so you have to toggle between multiple reports to get a full picture of your returns.
- No alert system. The only way to figure out if your return rate is trending in the wrong direction is to manually check your Amazon seller dashboard again and again. You can’t, for instance, set up an alert to let you know if you’re at risk for receiving a “Frequently Returned” label.
Build an additional workflow
The reality is, you can set up alerts that will track your return rates for you automatically. In Intentwise, for instance, you can layer on workflows that alert you to sudden shifts in the percent of customers who request a return on a given product. If a spike happens, especially outside of a holiday, that may mean something is systematically going wrong with your product.
Sample of Intentwise’s Amazon Returns Overview
An Intentwise customer that did this is GWA Auto Parts, which boasts a massive catalog of 550+ products. Tracking the return rate for every product was difficult and time-consuming, so GWA built a workflow on top of Intentwise Analytics Cloud that automatically alerts it to a spike in returns.
Staying on top of return rates and receiving automated alerts when there’s a significant shift lets GWA Auto Parts identify and respond to any issues immediately. That way, they can be sure they’ll never get hit with Amazon’s “Frequently Returned” label.
Make it easier to monitor your return rates
With the Amazon Returns Overview dashboard in Intentwise Analytics Cloud, we will automatically pull and visualize all of this returns data for you. When you work with us, you don’t have to constantly check multiple seller reports to see your return rates.
Our dashboard displays your brand’s overall percentage of returns over time, a pie chart of the reasons for the returns, and the return rates broken down by ASIN—all in a single, automatically refreshing view.