Knowing how to handle return shipments smoothly and quickly is a must for any ecommerce retailer in today’s market. Online shoppers know that there’s a risk that an online purchase won’t work out, but will often proceed to the checkout anyway—as long as they are confident in the returns policy.

Learn more about how shipping partners can make or break your returns in the Future of Reverse Logistics

For UK merchants, partnering with a reliable logistics service like DHL can be a game changer for returns services.

In this blog post, we will cover:

  • The key components of a successful return
  • How to leverage DHL for more efficient returns
  • The cross-border angle
  • Using Loop to upgrade the returns experience

Let’s start by breaking down the stages and characteristics of a successful return.

The key components of a successful return

Returns can feel like an unnecessary hassle, a sign that a purchase didn’t go to plan. Yet when the retailer and logistics provider make a return as streamlined and easy as possible, it can actually be a positive touchpoint between the customer and the ecommerce store.

At its most basic, a return requires the customer to initiate the process and gain access to a shipping label or other return label. They then need to identify the right delivery service to transport that package back to the retailer or the warehouse. This package is then processed and hopefully returned to the inventory, to be resold. Meanwhile, the customer receives their refund or their exchange.

Each of these stages creates an opportunity for friction—or ease. Get it wrong and the customer may not choose to shop with that ecommerce merchant again. Get it right and they could develop deeper loyalty to that brand, helping you increase customer retention rates.


How to leverage DHL for more efficient returns

In order to make a package ready for drop-off, DHL customers have the option to either use an enclosed returns label or generate a new label for the return parcel within a DHL returns portal. This can be dual-branded with the merchant for a cohesive retail experience, and allows shoppers to seamlessly initiate the return. If the customer chooses to generate a label, they will receive either a mobile barcode or a shipping label. In this way, DHL makes that first touch point a positive, easy experience.

DHL shipping always generates tracking information with the DHL return labels to give both the customer and merchant peace of mind. Especially if a shopper is dropping off the parcel at a local DHL location and not their usual post office, this tracking information can give them confidence that they’ve done it right. The carrier also ensures that returns packages are received quickly, so that merchants can quickly get the inventory back on the shelf.

One of the great advantages of using a carrier service like DHL or DHL Express is that the company has a large network across the UK and abroad. Any customer that returns a package is able to leverage one of the 3,500 DHL Service Point locations around the country, which means they can find a convenient location near them. As these DHL Parcel UK ServicePoints are usually located inside of a convenience store with flexible hours, shoppers can drop off packages on a schedule that works for them.

The cross-border angle

Many retailers in the United Kingdom are growing their overseas customer base, which means they also need to figure out how to support cross-border returns. Some of this just means understanding that the language may need to be updated, such as switching from postcode to zip code when shipping to the US. But other elements of international shipping, such as dealing with duties and taxes, can be a headache without the right shipping partner.

Retailers partnering with DHL can leverage the DHL Supply Chain and tap into their global networks, such as their pan-European partner with 200 carriers and 320,000 drop off locations. This allows the merchant to provide a comparable experience for all of their customers, whether domestic or international, and whether parcel delivery or package return.

Pricing options at the merchant level are designed to take into account the different fees and currencies associated with international shipping, so that the ecommerce store isn’t bogged down in those details. This also allows them to provide a more transparent experience for their shoppers, who may be intimidated at the prospect of an international return shipment.

Using Loop to upgrade the returns experience

Partnering with DHL will elevate the returns service, but ambitious merchants will want to take things to the next level. This is where partnering with a returns management service like Loop can really have an impact, introducing additional features that add value without making the process more time-consuming for the online shopper.

Loop integrates easily into the backend of a merchant’s Shopify platform, as well as with carriers like DHL. The Loop returns portal offers a fully customizable returns workflow, so merchants can select which questions they want to ask their customers about the return, to collect valuable data insights. It also has the functionality to offer exchanges at the point of return or trade a refund for store credit, which can be a game changer: this protects the merchant’s bottom line and helps the shopper to leave the interaction with what they want.

Because Loop partners with DHL directly, there is no extra complication when it comes to generating returns labels or shipping the package. Instead, customers—and merchants—benefit from a more personalized returns process that is still quick and efficient.

Learn more about integrating Loop with DHL. Book a demo today.