Any online business can tell you that returns are often a huge pain point. In 2020, they cost US retailers over $500 billion. But finding the right returns solution can streamline the process, making ecommerce returns more efficient, recovering lost revenue and improving the customer experience, which boosts brand loyalty. 

Learn more about how returns management can improve your customer experience in the Future of Shopper Experience

Taking the effort to find the right returns management platform is worth the time and energy. A returns solution that fits your needs will help your company create a sound returns policy, automate tasks that can save time for customer support, and gather data about the returns experience in order to improve future sales. 

In this article, you’ll discover:

  • How automation can save you time and money
  • How to recoup losses through refurbishment
  • Why customer satisfaction is key

How automation can save you time and money

When your ecommerce business is growing, product returns can be a huge pain point. Up to 40% of online sales end in a return. You have to make sure your return policy and FAQ are featured prominently on your website and are clearly written. 

Along with returned products, there are numerous costs to consider. While free returns are a great incentive to shoppers, this leaves your business paying for shipping costs. Once the package reaches the warehouse, you next have to cover labor costs. This includes steps like having the warehouse team open the box, examine the product, determine if the item is defective and needs to be refurbished, and then restock the inventory if necessary. 

Ecommerce return solutions can find innovative ways to reduce shipping costs and automate tasks to speed up the return. It starts with using AI to respond to return requests in order to gather information about the shopper, automating a task that no longer needs to be completed by a team member.

If the shopper is looking for an exchange or store credit, they can do so at the same time they initiate their return without having to wait. By offering a free return label the minute the package is dropped off, both shoppers and your team will know the real-time status of the return. Using a returns platform like Shopify means automating some of the intensive tasks and providing both the buyer and your team with notifications on the return.

returns management solution

If a shopper is simply looking for a refund, as soon as they attach the return label or the product is scanned into a drop-off center, the shopper can automatically expect to see their refund. What’s more, at drop-off centers, ecommerce returns can be bundled and sent in one large shipment, saving on revenue lost during the return shipping process and easing the load on supply chains. 

Returns management solutions can integrate RMA software. This allows ecommerce brands to manage a wealth of information, including warehouse monitoring, inventory management, model number tracking, and more. Access to this information will help prevent losses and increase revenue

The right returns management platform can leverage data to help ecommerce businesses reduce return rates by pinpointing big-picture issues with products. It can also increase the rate of exchanges compared to full-out refunds.

These methods help ease the process for merchants and improve customer satisfaction. One D2C company that started using a returns management solution saw the time it took to process returns go from two weeks to just two days.

How to recoup losses through refurbishment websites

Many online stores have managed to extend the life of product returns through refurbishment. Big-name companies like Walmart, Amazon, eBay and Nike have all started programs which sell previously-owned products at a discount. Not only does it help reduce waste but it allows shopping at a reduced price, increasing customer loyalty. Ecommerce returns solutions can help manage pricing to ensure recovery of losses from online returns. Resale websites also promote sustainability, something that online shoppers value more and more these days. Packaging waste is proven to be one of the worst by-products of online retailers. 

Why customer satisfaction is key

Customer satisfaction is a key aspect of reverse logistics. With returns management solutions, you can personalize customer returns to recover lost revenue. Using automation, shoppers can initiate the returns process through a self-service returns portal. There, a chatbot or help desk can gather data by asking them questions about their purchase and the reason for the return. It can offer recommendations for exchange items or a bonus credit if the shopper uses their store credit to buy a new item. 

Taking this extra step to tailor ecommerce returns towards your shopper’s needs can curb buyer’s remorse and help them feel more valued. Personalization has been shown to increase customer retention rates by 5% and increase profits by 25% to 95%

Even better, these automated tools can provide retailers with returns data that helps clarify why a product didn’t work for the buyer and view the entire customer journey to better understand their needs. Returns solutions can provide analytics into the returns experience, from the length of time shoppers are being helped to how long returned items are taking to get to the warehouse.

Most returns management software will make shipping easier by providing UPS and USPS pay-per-use return labels for hassle-free returns. If you prefer not to cover the cost of shipping labels for shoppers, a returns management system can also make it easier to drop off returned items at drop-off centers where shoppers simply have a QR code scanned. Providing the best post-purchase experience will encourage shoppers to return to buy again.

Finally, when considering ecommerce returns management solutions, you should also ensure security. As an online retailer, your order fulfillment includes tracking sensitive information, especially when working with multiple vendors. Be sure that the platform you use has a plan in place to deal with security risks to avoid loss of customer value.

Want to learn how Loop can help streamline your ecommerce returns solutions? Book a demo with Loop today