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Help Your Customers with Returns Management

Matt Blevins
Updated 06/30/20 2:30 PM

Why is managing returns important?

Returns have become an integral part of the customer experience in ecommerce.

For some context, 79% of customers want free returns shipping, and 96% say they will buy again if the returns process is easy.

And by the way, up to 40% of a brand's shoppers have returned at least one item by their third purchase.

Returns management is more than simply logistics and operational processes - it's a key player in customer satisfaction and customer lifetime value.

Recognizing the problem

The traditional returns workflow is full of manual steps and insufficient visibility.

This can quickly overwhelm your operations, and result in an influx of messages from shoppers to your customer service team.

One retailers was able to cut their return processing time by 10X using ReturnLogic, and another states that return-related emails are virtually non-existent.

Even subconsciously, it can be easy to blame the shopper when she returns a purchase.

But keep in mind that most returns are not the result of serial returns behavior. Many are simply cases of misaligned expectations.

As many of us know, it can be extremely difficult to shop online without the tactile experiences that come with in-store shopping.

This is particularly the case in fashion and apparel, as well as other verticals that are heavily reliant on aspects such as fit and feel.

returns-management-help-your-customers-return-reasons

Above, we have a breakdown of returns by return reason for a women's fashion brand. It's clear to see that sizing issues - manifested in “Too Big" and “Too Small" - are responsible for the bulk of their returns.

Unfortunately, new shoppers are often impacted by returns more than repeat shoppers. This effect can be demonstrated by looking at the return rate of each type of shopper.

returns-management-help-your-customers-return-rates

For this merchant, new shoppers have a return rate of over 5% more than that of repeat shoppers. This not only negates the effort to convert these customers, but can also jeopardize the future customer relationship.

Regardless, ecommerce retailers need a process to handle the logistical and customer-facing challenges that come with them.

You need the abilities to effectively process returns and ease the customer experience. You also want to collect powerful insights to prevent returns in the future.

This is precisely the role that returns management software aims to play.

How do you manage ecommerce returns?

Returns management comprises all of the policies, rules, workflows, and processes that build a return for a shopper as well as the systems used by the retailer to receive, grade, and complete the return.

As we mentioned above, the returns workflow is often full of manual steps.

Smart automation empowers merchants to dramatically streamline their process by mechanizing the more repetitive and labor-intensive while preserving visibility and control.

No one workflow or solution will alleviate every pain point. Consider your current and future needs when evaluating returns management options.

How can ecommerce returns be reduced?

With return rates typically falling between 15% and 30% in ecommerce, it's no surprise that many retailers want to reduce their return rate.

Often, the greatest challenge is transforming data into actionable insights. It takes more than data; you need a structured analytical process to identify opportunities for improvement and dive in to extract insights.

Check out Reduce Your Return Rate: The Advanced Guide

Insights in hand, you're now equipped to make changes with the goal of reducing your return rate. It's important to remember here that a return indicates that expectation did not match reality.

So, in order to prevent returns, we can either focus our attention on the expectation of the product, or the reality of the product.

By reducing your return rate, you prevent returns before they happen. This allows you to retain sales revenue, prevent shipping and processing costs, and avoid a volatile experience in the customer relationship.

Returns management that works

ReturnLogic knows that operations are foundational to the customer experience. A better returns process means happier shoppers.

We design automations that streamline the most labor-intensive parts of the process, while allowing you to maintain visibility and control over your returns workflow.

Returns data is pivotal to maximizing your profit. You can reduce your returns, saving revenue and preventing a delicate event in the customer relationship.

10 Questions to Ask When Evaluating Returns Management Software

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