In reality, as long as you’re selling anything, you will have returns. Of course, you want to minimize them, but you also need to think about ways to improve your customers’ experience. Returns are an important part of how customers view your brand, their level of satisfaction, and whether they’ll shop with you again.
From formalizing a modern policy to automating the return process, there’s a lot you can do. Before you’re willing to invest time or money into these things, you may wonder why returns matter so much to your business.
Read Also: 4 Tips That Supports Your eCommerce Business
Table of Contents
The Basics of eCommerce Returns
Around 48% of surveyed shoppers said they’d returned something they bought online in the past year. Items most commonly returned include those in the categories of apparel, consumer electronics, and home products.
The vast majority of returns seem to be due to damaged or broken products when they arrive. Second, are products that customers say they didn’t feel matched their expectations or the description.
When shoppers are happy with the return policy of a retailer, the overwhelming majority say they’ll buy from them again. If a customer isn’t happy, they’re three times more likely not to buy from you again.
When you think of logistics, you might focus primarily on getting items to customers, but you’re less likely to integrate returns management into this.
Returns management is also known as reverse logistics. The returns management process involves the process of customers sending the items back and how you handle them once you receive them.
Why Should You Optimize Your Returns Management Process?
If you streamline how you move products back through your supply chain after a return, there are a lot of business benefits.
First, there are the more obvious financial benefits. For example, if you’re strategic with reverse logistics, you can get better profit margins.
A less measurable but perhaps even more important reason to optimize the returns process is that it directly affects how customers view your brand.
If a customer has a bad experience with your product, your job is to make it right in their eyes. A big part of that is offering simple, convenient options to return the item.
Creating a Return Policy
The foundation of a strong returns management process is one that will promote customer satisfaction. Don’t overlook returns or the policy because you don’t want to deal with them. You’re doing a disservice to your entire business.
Fifty-one percent of online shoppers say they don’t buy from retailers with a strict policy for returns.
Having a simple, visible returns policy increases purchases and conversions and can be a marketing tool. A policy encourages repeat purchases, minimizes costs, and increases the lifetime value of customers.
When you’re writing a returns policy for eCommerce, you’ll want to decide if you’ll also offer exchange or store credit options. Create a time limit and specifically outline the guidelines you have in place for returns.
You’ll decide if you’ll provide a return label and whether or not it will be prepaid.
Things to also detail that customers will want to know to include how long processing will take for a return, which they should contact with questions, and if they need to pay processing fees.
Once you have a strong policy, you need to communicate it at various steps in the customer’s journey. Your customers should be able to access information that answers any questions they could have regarding returns.
Automating the Process
Finally, one of the best things you can do to consider the importance of your returns process is to automate it. You don’t have to let reverse logistics become a pain point for your business.
When you automate the returns process, it’s more efficient and can save money for you. It also goes even further to improve customer satisfaction.
For example, with automation, customers can quickly and easily start the returns process and use scan-based return labels. You can use tracking data, so customers have end-to-end visibility on where their return is. Finally, returns don’t have to be a bad thing altogether. Once you do the above and recognize their value, you can use them as a chance to grow your business and engage your customers if you recognize the available opportunities.