How to Handle eCommerce Returns Efficiently?

To stay competitive in the market and make a difference, eCommerce businesses provide reliable products/services and enable a seamless customer experience. But one thing that works as a roadblock to success in the eCommerce market is the lack of a return policy.

Having a comprehensive return policy helps in increasing product sales and retaining customers. When customers know that they have the option to return the product if they are not satisfied with it, they can confidently buy things. 

However, returns prove to be a costly factor for businesses. It can consume more than 3% of the revenue, which impacts the bottom line of the business. 

In such a complex scenario, retailers are looking out for ways to efficiently manage returns, while keeping the customers happy. 

In this article, we have shared a number of effective strategies to manage eCommerce returns. Before that, let’s first understand what exactly eCommerce returns management is and why it is important today.

What is E-commerce Returns Management?

When customers purchase any product from an online store or marketplace and then decide to return it, it is called the return process. After the return, the retailer or the business needs to handle this return and manage it, which is called eCommerce returns management.

Why Is E-commerce Returns Management Important?

Return management is essential for eCommerce businesses for two primary reasons. First, not having a return option or policy means less number of people purchasing the products. Second, a return policy is in place, but the rate of return is high. In this case, the business will need to invest in the processes involved in return management. 

According to research, 74% of the people would not buy from an eCommerce store that doesn’t have a return policy. This is an alarming stat that shows how much important return management is for eCommerce sites. 

Moreover, 95% of shoppers choose to purchase more products from an eCommerce store that offers a good return and exchange experience. 

Before shopping from an online site, customers look out for a return policy and check whether the return or exchange is free of cost or not. 

Ways and Strategies to Manage eCommerce Returns

Following are some practical and efficient ways to manage eCommerce returns:

  1. Create a clear return policy

Every eCommerce website or app must have a clear return policy in place. Every term and condition of the return should be stated clearly so that customers can understand everything easily. 

Since the return policy impacts the buying decision of the customers, it should be easy to find. Customers shouldn’t need to put efforts to find whether your site has a return policy or not. 

In the return policy, you should clearly mention whether the returns are free or carry some cost. It builds trust and brings you and the customer on the same page. 

  1. Convenient return process

The return process should not be complicated. Complexity can lead to poor customer experience, which can shun the customer. An example of a convenient return process is the way Amazon handles returns. 

When a customer requests a return, the site shows the return date and assigns a partner for product pickup. When it is returned, the refund or exchange is done within minutes. 

  1. Allow return acceptance in physical stores

This is by far the most efficient way to reduce the operational costs involved in return management. If your business has a physical store in the area, allow customers to return the online-purchased product to the store. It saves the costs involved in picking up the product and sending it back to the warehouse.

When the customers visit the store to return, the staff there can suggest better products or tell about other useful things. This can increase sales.

  1. Engage with customers

When customers return a product, every business should contact the customer to understand their concerns. This will not only help you understand their issues but also make them feel special. This tactic may also help you bring back the lost customers. 

  1. Update return policy during occasions

During certain occasions like festivals and holidays, eCommerce businesses provide discounts and promos on several products. This brings in more customers, buying more products. The number of returns also increases during such periods. 

To minimize the returns, you can update the return policy during these occasions. For example, the return window for some products can be reduced from 30 days to just 10 days. Some products can be kept out from the return policy. But ensure that you update the customers about changes in the return policy. 

  1. Automate return management process

Managing returns becomes a complicated and difficult task for large eCommerce stores as they have a massive number of product returns each day. It will also consume a lot of time.

Automation of return management using the software can not only save time but also reduce the time wasted on doing manual tasks. No eCommerce business should devote its time to mundane and repetitive tasks in this era of digital transformation. 

Return management software has the potential to subsequently optimize the return processing time. Furthermore, it automatically sends alerts to customers about return status.

Wrapping up:

Return management of products usually impacts the bottom line of the eCommerce businesses, but avoiding the returns is not the answer. The use of effective and proven strategies mentioned above will significantly help in optimizing the return management processes and operational costs.

If you have more strategies or tips for return management, let us know using the comments below.