As your Shopify store scales, it’s important to prioritize a great customer experience at every step along the way—from the first interaction with your brand, all the way up to the returns process.

Learn more about how important the shopper experience is in the Future of Shopper Experience

By streamlining your workflows with returns management software, you’ll be able to optimize both the shopper experience and reduce the amount of manual labor that your customer support team is faced with, resulting in higher customer satisfaction.

In this article, we’ll cover:

  • What customers are looking for in the ecommerce returns process
  • How to improve the returns process with automation
  • Why an end-to-end returns management solution can increase profitability

Because customers aren’t able to physically try on or see products in-person before making an ecommerce purchase, the rate of return is typically much higher than it is for brick-and-mortar retail shops, with anywhere up to 40% of purchases ending in a return.

As such, savvy online shoppers know that a good customer returns process is an important part of choosing which products to buy in the first place, so that they’re not stuck with buyers’ remorse if they decide they don’t like the item they purchased.

What customers look for in the ecommerce returns process

In general, customers want their returns process to be convenient and affordable: 84% of customers said that a positive returns experience would encourage them to shop with a brand again.

A few key elements that can improve the customer experience include:

  • Free return shipping
    54% of online shoppers said that they looked for brands with free returns when deciding where to make a purchase.
  • A flexible returns policy
    Consider going beyond the standard 30 day return policy window to 90 or even 180 days. Counterintuitively, researchers have found that the longer a customer has to return an item, the lower the return rate tends to be.
  • Multiple options for return shipping
    Shoppers appreciate the convenience and flexibility of multiple options for returning their products. By allowing them to choose between a pre-paid return label that they can ship back from their home or business, or using a package-free returns service at a nearby drop-off location, they’ll have the opportunity to customize their returns process to their unique needs and preferences.
  • Sustainable returns
    Modern shoppers are highly concerned with sustainability in their ecommerce purchases, and that extends to the reverse logistics process too. Use recyclable materials as much as possible in your shipping process, and don’t request returns for products that aren’t likely to be resold. Instead, you can provide a returnless refund, giving your shoppers the ability to keep or donate the item.
  • Self-service returns
    Shoppers hate getting put on hold to talk to customer support—they’d much rather resolve issues themselves. In fact, 88% of U.S. consumers would prefer to use a self-service portal than to go through traditional customer support channels. By empowering customers to manage the returns process independently, you can cut down on their resolution time while reducing your reliance on customer support resources.
ecommerce returns process

How to improve the returns process with automation

Using a returns management solution can support all of these customer needs and deliver a better experience during the returns process.

By using a returns management solution integration with Shopify, you’ll be able to automate previously manual returns processes, helping your shoppers resolve issues more quickly and using their preferred methods to manage the returns.

With an online returns portal, your shoppers can use self-service to determine whether they want to process a refund, a variant exchange, or exchange a product for another item in your store, without the need to return to their shopping cart. They’ll be able to view their order history to see which of their products are eligible for return and how long they have to process the return, and get recommendations for similar items for exchange based on the reason they’re returning the item in question.

An all-in-one returns management solution can streamline workflows so that customers can go straight from requesting a return to choosing their preferred return method, and getting access to the return shipping label or QR code that they can use to ship the item back to your warehouse. Once the return is processed, they’ll receive automated notifications that help them see the status of their return or exchange, including whether their money has been refunded or their replacement order has been shipped.

Automating the returns process gives your customers more power and transparency during the post-purchase experience, helping you deliver higher customer satisfaction.

Why an end-to-end returns management solution can increase profitability

Using a returns management solution like Loop can improve the experience for your shoppers—but it can also go a long way towards increasing profitability for your brand.

In fact, Loop’s returns management software can streamline the returns experience and optimize for exchanges over refunds, helping your brand keep more revenue from each transaction. Because Loop offers customized product recommendations and incentivizes customers to choose a new item rather than request a refund, Loop merchants are able to retain as much as 40% of their revenue that would otherwise be lost to returns.

And beyond the individual transaction, customers who choose exchanges over refunds are more likely to remain loyal to your brand for the long-term. Rather than losing customers over a poorly fitting item, you’ll be able to win them back with a great returns experience that opens the door to an ongoing relationship.

Especially during a time when ecommerce customer acquisition costs are higher than ever before, it’s crucial to find ways to retain and reward loyal customers. By optimizing the returns experience with automation and the right returns management software, your brand will be able to do more with less, helping you boost your bottom line by ensuring that your shoppers receive the right solution to help them manage their returns every time.

Want to optimize your returns? Book a demo with Loop today.