When a brand receives a return initiation, a chain of events is set into motion—a series of interconnected triggers and outcomes. The customer must package the item and take it to a carrier, which in turn prompts the brand to track the shipment and, once it arrives at the warehouse, to approve the return, triggering the company’s financial systems to issue the appropriate credit.

Which all sounds simple enough—but that’s just the beginning, and it’s just one return among thousands.

The many moving pieces of a customer return

The next step in the process is the issuing of a credit—but which kind? A refund, exchange, store voucher? An extra complex scenario: The customer would like the refund to be applied to a gift card. Even this slight shift in workflow can present a challenge for an overburdened, under-optimized returns system.

In addition, charting the steps involved in this process from end to end requires considerable data tracking abilities—and to do so times thousands of returns ramps up the degree of difficulty to a dizzying degree. In fact, replicated dozens of times per day, this process can become downright untenable without the right logistical solutions in place.

And even if smart returns solutions are in place, they must coordinate seamlessly with the rest of the retailer’s essential functions. The shipping tracker must talk to the warehouse; the warehouse must keep in touch with the inventory software; the receiving department must trigger the issuing of a credit. Without a symbiotic system of communication, these functions each exist in a vacuum, requiring human intervention to create a single snapshot.

Given these potential outcomes, the steps required to make them happen, and the challenge of coaxing internal systems to operate in unison, performing return functions at scale is daunting. For any brand keeping a close eye on the bottom line—and eager to stay efficient and nimble—the question becomes: Isn’t there a better way?

Loop x NetSuite, powered by Celigo: the marriage of returns support and iPaaS

To create a synergistic returns management infrastructure that maintains connectivity between a brand’s many operational facets, merchants must adopt a cutting-edge solution like that between returns platform Loop and business management software NetSuite. This union is forged via the Celigo platform—an air traffic controller coordinating receiving, tracking, and financial services to process returns efficiently.

Celigo is also infinitely adaptable to a brand’s particular needs. Merchants can customize this system to aggregate data from other sources—such as third-party logistics solutions (3PL) or an e-commerce platform like Shopify. Because these integrations have been built into user-friendly templates by Celigo, no developer work is required from merchants to put them in place.

How does it all come together in practice? Here’s a step-by-step overview:
A customer initiates a return and sends the item via shipping carrier, triggering Loop to send pertinent return information to NetSuite, including the returned item’s real-time status as it makes its way back to the warehouse.

  • NetSuite produces a return authorization (RA).
  • With a customized program, a customer can export the return receipt from NetSuite to Loop, and process or flag returns within Loop once the returned item is received.
  • Depending on whether a full refund, exchange, store credit, or refund to a gift card is the appropriate action, Loop will initiate the proper payment sequence, and either debiting or crediting various aspects of the business automatically, such as gross sales, sales tax, general ledger, or gift card liability.
  • The return receipt is reconciled with the 3PL entity receiving the return, comparing the item(s) to the Loop RA.
  • In a one-way setup, returns will then be approved manually via Loop.
  • In a two-way setup, an API call—in which an automated interface requests data—will be made to Loop, triggering Loop to release the refund or exchange and close the return.
  • Or, if the return is not acceptable, the return will be placed in review status and an API call will be made to flag the order, referring it to the merchant’s customer support.

In other words, with this integrated system the manpower required to manually process returns is drastically reduced, and—thanks to Celigo—the systems required interact seamlessly. The bottom line? A once complex system becomes infinitely manageable.

If you’d like to learn more about adopting the integration between Loop and NetSuite via Celigo, click here.