Studies found that more than 80% of customers consider the ease of making returns when deciding whether to shop online or through brick and mortar stores. Interestingly, a higher percentage will likely shop again with online merchants with a convenient return process. Unfortunately, dealing with product returns isn’t fun for most retailers. However, merchants can minimize and capitalize on returns if they handle it the right way. Below are tips for successful returns management.
1. Differentiate between controllable and uncontrollable returns
Product returns are costly to your business and customers, and you should do everything possible to mitigate possible returns. This begins from understanding and differentiating between controllable and uncontrollable product returns. Controllable returns are those that can be reduced or eliminated through efficient logistics processes, such as proper product descriptions, better packaging to avoid damages, and speedy delivery.
On the other hand, uncontrollable returns are those that merchants can’t do anything about. For instance, if the buyer places an order but changes their decisions afterward. Once you’ve understood these elements, you can implement strategies to prevent such from happening.
For instance, you can provide detailed product descriptions to mitigate controllable returns. You can also use better packaging materials and fast delivery couriers. There is little you can do about uncontrollable returns, but you can consider reducing the window period that customers have to return items.
2. Understand the costs associated with returns
Implementing a good returns policy helps businesses achieve great customer satisfaction. Customers also prefer businesses that offer free product returns. However, you should understand how returns affect your business, specifically the cost of tracking and reverse shipping. You should also account for work hours spent and pain points associated with managing product returns, as this process is mostly manual.
These cost and time estimations provide great insights into the effect of returns on your business. If figures show that returns cost almost the same as creating new products or making purchases wholesale, you’ll be better off issuing refunds and allowing customers to keep the delivered products.
3. Develop a clear return policy
A clear return policy is important, as it determines customer experience. Like shipping policies, you should ensure that your returns policy is accessible to customers by posting it on your site and other partner sites. You should also enclose hardcopies when delivering products. This eliminates misunderstandings and frustrations associated with return deadlines, refunds, and product exchanges.
4. Process returns quickly
Most businesses don’t like product returns because of the tedious, manual processes involved. Unfortunately, a study found that 88% of eCommerce customers stop or avoid shopping from merchants who take a long to process refunds. Besides, 77% of customers said they wouldn’t recommend such retailers.
If your business has this challenge, you might be missing out on many customers. Fortunately, you can implement this smart eCommerce returns experience solution. G2 Reverse Logistics returns management software helps businesses maximize efficiency and value from returns.
Managing returns or reverse fulfillment is challenging and expensive for most businesses. Fortunately, you can improve your customers’ return experience with these tips. You can also provide returns visibility through tracking and using fulfillment centers for seamless returns management.