Contents may shift


Virtually every box of cereal, crackers, and other packaged foods has some sort of disclaimer that the box might not be “full” when you open it. Why? The contents may have “shifted” or “settled” during shipping. But since these items are sold by weight and not volume, the story goes, we as consumers shouldn’t concern ourselves with the empty space inside.

With that said, I’m left wondering why they don’t take this one step further. On the inside bag that contains the product, simply print a green line that says “Contents may shift during shipping, but should start out above this line.” That way, there is no confusion about what a “full” box might be, and I’ll bet that returns and exchanges would be reduced.

To generalize this a bit, don’t just tell customers that something might be different than they expect. Instead, give them a concrete way to verify that what they’re getting is correct. This might take the form of a fill-up line like I described above, a sizing guide, or a color chart. Regardless of how you do it, this approach should help you better manage customer expectations and reduce errant returns.