Have Fewer Amazon Returns

Amazon Prime Day 2021 was Monday, June 21 to Tuesday, June 22.

My experience with Prime Day is mixed. Around the time they announce Prime Day my site traffic goes up a little, but Amazon sales go down. I am assuming people are putting things in their cart to see if they go down on Prime Day.

On Prime Day I get a lot of sales, mostly of things that have nothing to do with products I talk about.

But then the returns start. For about a month, the Amazon return window, I have so many returns that some days they exceed sales. The same thing happens after Christmas, but not as badly as Prime Day.

If you don’t know it yet, when things are returned, you don’t get paid for the sale. That is one of the reasons that it takes two months to get paid for a sale. And why if you end your relationship with Amazon, they hold your last commission for a while.

Associates Program Operating Agreement

We may hold accrued unpaid commission income for a reasonable period of time following termination to ensure that the correct amount is paid (for example, to account for any cancellations or returns).

Associates Program Operating Agreement

Is there anything I can do to have fewer returns?
Is it just me?
How much do people actually return?

The average return rate on Amazon ranges between 5% to 15%. But the return rate for some categories, such as consumer electronics, clothing and fine jewelry, can shoot as high as 40%.


That makes a lot of sense. On Prime Day I am seeing a lot of sales in those categories. Ordinarily my sales are nearly all in Home Improvement.

This information is from the Zentail website. Zentail is a listing automation platform. As far as I can tell, it is a tool to make it easier for sellers to list on Amazon or Walmart.

The article 8 Ways to Reduce Your Amazon Return Rate is targeted to sellers, not Associates. It uses the abbreviation FBA a lot. FBA stands for Fulfillment By Amazon.

Fulfillment is the process of storing, packing, and shipping orders as well as handling returns and exchanges. Effective, reliable ecommerce fulfillment delights customers. With FBA, you send your products to Amazon’s fulfillment centers, and we pick, pack, ship, and provide customer service for those products.


The Zentail article 8 Ways to Reduce Your Amazon Return Rate has really good information to help sellers have fewer returns.

It goes without saying that the products that are most frequently returned are usually ones you’d trial or try on at the store.


That absolutely makes sense. That’s what I return.

Then the article goes on to help sellers find ways to have fewer returns. Most of the information doesn’t apply to Amazon Associates, but some of it does. There are some things we can do.

Include a Detailed Product Description

When product descriptions aren’t good, sometimes people go to Google searching for more information on the product. We can kinda make up for that. Go to the manufacturer’s website for more accurate details. If you own the product, you can have better photos and correct information. If possible, make it easy for people to find the answers.

Product Description uses abbreviations that are unclear.
The photo makes it look like the glass has a color.

This product gives some examples of unclear information.

The description says Pwt, Nckl, B/S, Slvr. Evidently they want you to think this is Pewter, Nickel, maybe Brushed Steel and Silver. All of those finishes are slightly different. They can also be slightly different from different manufacturers. Some versions are a painted finish, some are a plated finish. The Minka Lavery 5762-2560-84 is in Brushed Nickel plated finish with an applied (painted on, rubbed off so it is left in the grooves) stain. Someone might order this to match a specific finish, then return it when they see what it actually looks like. The finish is beautiful. But if someone is trying to match something marked Pwt, Nckl, B/S or Slvr; it probably won’t. (And some people really really care.)

They also spelled Europa wrong. SEO optimizing for poor spellers?

Include High-Quality Images…

The photo above from Amazon makes it look like the glass is a light pinkish color. It is actually Etched Clear Glass.

Minka-Lavery 5762-2560-84 Europa 2 Light Bath Sconce

This is closer to what the light really looks like. It is antique looking nickel with a brushed, not shiny finish. The diffusers are heavy clear glass with an etched pattern. Etched or frosted glass spreads the light. The glass is not pink at all. The photo is probably pink trying to look like there is an incandescent bulb lighting it up.

If you can, have photos that show the product in the actual colors that it actually comes in. Sometimes the manufacturer only provides one photo of a product that comes in a lot of different finishes. You can make sure someone shopping can tell. You can often find photos of the other finishes. Make it clear what finish is shown in the product photo. Perhaps show swatches of the other finishes and make it clear which product number orders which finish.

Crystorama 5262-EB-CL-MWP Mercer Candle Crystal Wall Sconce

Sometimes you will see that the photo has nothing whatsoever to do with the product number and description. Like the example above. The product number and description are for a wall sconce. The photo is of a ceiling light. It’s not even close. The description seems to think it is in the Regis collection. It isn’t. And it doesn’t complement them. The description is mostly wrong and the photo is completely wrong.

You can help with this.

Report incorrect product information

Report incorrect product information.

When you see something wrong, let Amazon know. Look below “See more product details” for Report incorrect product information.

Tell Amazon what is wrong.

Tell Amazon what is wrong.

The dropdown gives you the options of Images, Product Name, Bullet Points or Other product details.

Tell Amazon why it is wrong.

Tell Amazon why it is wrong.

The dropdown gives you Doesn’t match product, Offensive or adult content, Shows additional items, Is not clear and Other.

I’ve never had a reason to use anything other than Doesn’t match product.

Add any details to make it easier for them to find the problem.

There is a box, so you can tell them a little more, like when the image that is wrong is only in the Text+Image Link. (That is where I usually find the problem.)

If you check back, usually it is corrected pretty quickly. But sometimes the entire listing goes away.

Other Ideas

Take a look at the Customer questions & answers and  Customer reviews, especially the bad reviews. These two areas can give you important things to add to your site.

For example; VOLT Brass 12V LED Underwater Mini Pond Lights (Set of 3). Take a look at the page.

The manufacturer makes it abundantly clear that these lights need a transformer. You can add the lights to an existing low voltage lighting system or buy a transformer just for these lights. They even have transformers that you can choose from right on the page. Yet even with all of that, someone asks if they “have to buy a transformer or do they come plug and play?” and someone else gave them low feedback and complain “no plug… not worth the $$!! …there is NO PLUG attached to these so I can plug them in!!”

You can try to help people understand what they are getting. In this case, perhaps putting “These lights need a transformer to work” in large red words centered on the description on your site.

Might help!

You are still going to have returns. You just are. And they hurt. But maybe this will help.