Returns management affects the brand's stock, its cash flow, the customer's post-sales experience, and so on. Seen in this light, they are a real headache for ecommerce. Moreover, in addition to this complexity in their management, there is unfortunately no magic formula that makes returns disappear. Every ecommerce has them no matter how good a product it sells, and it is not always possible to guarantee the right size or that the same garment will fit everyone.
Faced with this situation...
How can ecommerce stop seeing returns as a problem and turn them into an opportunity?
Facilitating the returns process for customers.
A customer who wants to return and cannot do so is a lost customer. This can probably be one of the biggest frustrations a customer can experience and understanding this is fundamental to offer an exceptional post-sales experience.
It is therefore important that the customer has all the information relevant to returns in the corresponding section of the ecommerce, which is generally the Returns Policy: from deadlines to costs if any and, of course, the details of the process to be carried out.
Automating your returns processes.
Automation brings huge benefits to ecommerce and in the case of returns management it is no exception:
- Improve the customer experience, who will enjoy a much simpler and more agile process. For years the focus has been on the purchasing process, automating a large part of the actions to captivate the customer, now it is the turn of reverse logistics.
- Optimising operations of your teams related to ecommerce, such as customer service, ecommerce management and even marketing. This will help your teams stop performing operational and repetitive tasks and start doing those that add value to the company.
Taking advantage of all the information provided by returns.
There can be many reasons why a customer has requested a return, from the size to the colour and quality of the product... And knowing these reasons is essential for the brand to understand why your customers are returning and to take measures to solve it.
For example, if most of your returns are due to sizing errors, you may need to review your sizing guide (or create one if you don't have one). You could also provide other product photos and even videos. All this will help you to reduce your return rate if these are the reasons and it will also boost your sales because if a customer doesn't finish the purchase because he/she lacks information about the size, he/she will now be able to make a purchase by consulting your sizing guide.
Offering instant refunds to your customers.
I ask you a question: if at the time of purchase, you advance your money before receiving the product, why is it that in an online return, your customer’s money is the last thing they receive? Think about the traditional process of an online return:
- You request the return.
- You prepare the order to be sent to the address provided by the brand.
- Your product arrives at the warehouse and is checked to ensure that the return you have requested matches and is in the right condition.
- If everything is correct, the refund is issued, which can take up to 3 days to reach the customer.
With this, the refund process takes approximately 10 days. On the other hand, if you offer instant refunds, your customers will receive their money back in as little as 6 seconds. In this way, the customer first receives their money and then sends back the product.
This is a brutal experience for customers, as receiving their money back in a matter of seconds encourages them to buy again.
Facilitating instant changes.
Now that sounds like science fiction. Request an exchange of a product for another of a different variant and receive it in just a few days, just in time for when you need it. As in the case of the instant refund, the customer requests the exchange from the ecommerce and is shown directly if they want to exchange it for another size or another colour if stock allows. In just a few seconds the request is completed and the brand sends the requested product, without having to wait for the customer to send the initial product they bought instead and its subsequent review. This is changing the mindset of the consumer back to exchanges.
In this case, your sales figures will not be negatively affected and you will have a satisfied customer with the management of a product that he liked and that he will receive on time. What’s impacted, is your returns percentage and it’s going down.
As you can see, turning returns into an opportunity is much easier than you thought. You just have to find the perfect solution that adapts to your needs and allows you to walk hand in hand to offer the best experience to your customers in a process as important as returns and exchanges.