Managing returns is one of the most complex challenges in ecommerce.
That's because returns management is a truly massive process - it begins the moment a customer decides to return a product, and ends when the compensation has been issued and the product is restocked into inventory, sent for repair, or designated for liquidation.
Returns impact your customer experience, operational efficiency, and ultimately, your profits.
As a result, several return solutions have emerged to simplify the creation of returns, improve the customer experience, and alleviate the deeply rooted business challenges of returns.
We'll focus on Loop, Returnly, and ReturnLogic for the purpose of this discussion.
Comparing Ecommerce Return Solutions
Before we discuss how the return solutions are different, let's start by explaining how they're similar.
Each returns solution provides a returns portal, just like the more basic return apps that are available. However, return solutions often allow for more sophisticated return policies, and provide a more smooth returns process for both customers and retailers.
Most return solutions offer the ability for customer service to start returns for customers on the backend of the platform. While this is not the desired outcome, it allows your team to step up in the case of a confused or angry customer.
All return solutions have some functionality for accepting and processing returns once they arrive back at your warehouse or 3PL.
Beyond that, each returns solution differs in its priorities and functionalities.
We know you want to be sure you're choosing the right returns solution for your business, so let's compare the strengths and weaknesses of some of the top ecommerce return solutions.
ReturnLogic emphasizes transparent pricing and operational efficiency. It's then up to you to decide if your business requires sophisticated operational control over returns.
Loop is highly focused on the customer experience in the returns process. It emphasizes attention-to-detail in the customer-facing side of returns, and aims to drive as many exchanges and as few refunds as possible.
In that sense, Loop is really a post-purchase returns solution. Given the team's background as a Shopify agency partner, Loop's priority is creating a returns experience that is consistent with the brand.
However, Loop falls short on the operational side of returns. They emphasize the importance of exchanges. But, Loop often ignores the implications of exchanges from an accounting perspective.
For example, Loop's accounting records often do not line up with Shopify reports. This requires D2C brands to do a lot of custom work in spreadsheets, or even hire a bookkeeper, to reconcile their reports.
In addition, Loop is unable to support warranty returns.
You will have to decide whether the incremental revenue from exchange upsells outweigh the added costs and complexities that come with the system.
Returnly approaches returns from more of a risk management perspective, with the premise being that retailers take on financial risk from returns.
The result is instant exchanges - exchange products can be immediately sent out to customers since Returnly charges a credit to retailers for covering the liability on their returns.
Just like Loop, Returnly does not support warranty returns.
Returnly charges a variable fee on refund transactions, which typically hovers from 10% to 15%, but can reach as high as 20%. Refunds are already costly enough, the last thing you need is an additional transaction fee.
Depending on your margins, these fees can easily cut into your profits.
You have to decide if the risk of a shopper not returning a product justifies the heightened expense.
Finding the Best Returns Solution
As ecommerce evolves, more and more brands are implementing return solutions. After all, returns management is still one of the most complex challenges in ecommerce.
At the end of the day, your business is unique. You must choose the returns solution that best suits your needs and priorities.
With these considerations in mind, you can make an informed decision for your business and your customers.