Product returns present some of the most complex challenges in e-commerce.
Whether you sell products on platforms like Shopify or BigCommerce, or have an e-commerce site, you’ll likely need to employ return software to help your team manage returns.
Return software is any tool that enhances the return process for a retailer and its customers.
Main Components of Return Software
The 3 fundamental areas of the return process are:
Some return software options address just one or two of these components, while others go for all three. It depends on the scope and sophistication of the software.
Every return software option is a little different. These distinctions – while subtle – can have substantial impacts on your business.
The Return Portal
The return portal is where the return begins for a customer.
A good return portal collects the customer’s information, enforces your return policies, and generates a shipping label. A great return portal can support all types of returns and can even prevent return fraud.
A return portal ensures a smooth return experience for customers and reduces the burden on your customer service team.
The Return Operations
Effective operations are the foundation of the customer experience. It’s hard to keep customers coming back if you can’t meet their expectations.
In addition to the customer-facing side of returns, you need to promptly administer exchanges and refunds, maintain full visibility over your returns, and support returns on purchases made through retail partners.
In these processes, more automation isn’t always better. Smarter returns automation can empower you to automatically process the returns you want to – when you want to. Your business is unique, and your return process is no different.
The Insights to Reduce your Return Rate
Many e-commerce retailers want more sales with fewer returns. But where do you even start?
The answer is in the data. Product return analytics can help you identify opportunities within your products to reduce your return rate.
Returns data can even help you identify return fraud and other problematic behaviors like wardrobing and bracketing.
Return Apps vs Return Solutions
You can categorize nearly any return software option as either a return app or a return solution.
Return apps are a quick fix to a small subset of problems associated with returns. They primarily focus on improving the user interface and reducing return-oriented emails to customer service.
Return solutions, on the other hand, strive to address more serious business challenges related to returns. These software options provide a self-service return portal, and functionalities to monitor, process, and optimize returns.
There’s a substantial difference between return apps and return solutions.
Return apps are cheaper and easier to adopt but don’t have many of the functionalities that enable you to control your returns and sustain the growth of your business.
For more detail, check out this in-depth comparison of return apps and return solutions.
Operational Software vs Post-Purchase Software
Within the scope of return solutions, software options either focus on post-purchase or operations.
Choosing between post-purchase or operational software is more a matter of your brand’s preferences and priorities.
Operational return software seeks to optimize the return process: improve operational efficiency, minimize short-term costs, and leverage analytics to maximize long-term profitability.
ReturnLogic and Happy Returns are prime examples of operationally focused return solutions.
Post-purchase return software is more focused on the customer experience. These solutions place greater emphasis on the return portal and less on the back-end operations of returns.
Post-purchase return solutions include Loop and Returnly.
Both post-purchase and operations are important facets of the return experience, and both are valid approaches to return management. Either operational return software or post-purchase return software will solve many of the pains associated with returns.
Managing your E-commerce Returns
Choosing a return software is a far-reaching business decision.
Returns impact your customers, your efficiency, and your profits. Every business is unique, so you need the tool that’s right for you.
Hopefully, now that you know the scope of return management options, you’re one step closer to smarter return management.