Three common e-commerce customer complaints and how to solve them

Online shopping is often associated with convenience. Consumers make the decision to purchase and within in a matter of seconds following a click of the mouse, it’s on their doorstep the next day, and in some cases, the very same day. E-commerce has enabled shoppers to be more confident in their decisions by offering comprehensive product descriptions and shopper reviews. However, that doesn't always prevent shoppers from returning items. Retailers offering online shopping must overcome obstacles specific to digital consumers.

Here’s a few common e-commerce customer complaints and how to solve them.

Complaint #1: Unforeseen costs associated with returns

Customers love the ease of online shopping, but when it comes to returns, few e-commerce businesses get it right. Unless you sell exclusively online or have a team dedicated solely to returns, ensuring a smooth customer experience can be tough. The biggest complaint we hear is that return policies aren’t clear and the consumer incurs unexpected costs to send items back to the merchant.


Clearly state your return policy, including specific shipping costs. In addition, make the information easy to find. Ensure customers have access to return information upfront rather than face the consequences of customer satisfaction backlash. Give consumers the opportunity to weigh the full cost of their purchase, including possible return fees. If you’re afraid your return policy may deter consumers from making a purchase, it may be time to look at revising your policy. Take a look at options such as return shipping insurance which can greatly reduce costs for both you and your customers.

Complaint #2: Unresponsive or unavailable customer service

One of the many benefits of online shopping is that there are no store hours. Consumers shop when it’s most convenient for them — whether it’s 1pm or 2am, consumers expect someone to be there to answer their questions, or help them should they encounter a problem. If your customer service team is not available, or what many consumers consider to be even worse — the only available help is an automated bot — chances are they will choose to make their purchase elsewhere.


Make a human available for customer inquiries as often as possible. If you must use a chatbot, be sure to analyze activity to learn what information customers are requesting most often and what time they are requesting it. Use this information to schedule customer service hours and upgrade your FAQ section so that when they have a commonly asked question, the answer is there.

Complaint #3: Difficult checkout process

Your customer has spent an hour on your site analyzing reviews and reading product descriptions to find the perfect products to meet their needs. With a filled cart, they are ready to check out. Then the site asks for more information than is necessary to make a purchase. As a business, there is required information to make a purchase and other information is just nice to have, or helpful for your marketing efforts. Trying to make the customer provide more information than is required leads to cart abandonment and consumer frustration. They’ll take their list of products, find them on another site, and won’t ever come back.


Leverage other avenues of information gathering that are voluntary for the consumer. Loyalty programs and advanced customer profiles are perfect for this. There are consumers who want to help you provide them with custom experiences, product recommendations, and special offers. These will likely be your most loyal customers. Build trust by giving customers the option of how much information to share with you by making only the required information mandatory.

With a little foresight and preparation, you'll be on your way to minimizing online shopper complaints and building lasting loyalty.


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