It is vital for eCommerce brands to have an effective returns management system.
Returns are an inevitable part of selling products online and they can cause issues if left as an afterthought. If you’re not careful, you could run the risk of frustrating your customers, leading to negative reviews which could harm your reputation and potentially cause you to lose future business.
You should think of returns management as a key part of your customers’ purchasing experience with your store. If it’s done well, you’ll improve shopper confidence and get more repeat purchases in return. These ten top tips for successful eCommerce returns management should help you to do this and more.
1. Package your goods well
It’s important to ensure that your products are packaged well, not just to avoid returns due to damaged goods, but also to reassure your customers that their order is valuable to you.
To further prevent any damage, make sure that you are using a reliable courier to deliver your goods. At Mosaic, we partner with some of the most reputable courier companies in the industry today and use sustainable, environmentally friendly packaging wherever possible.
2. Have a clear returns policy
One of the key aspects of returns management is having a clear returns policy in place. Your policy should be both easy to read and access. It should answer common questions about returns, providing transparency between you and the customer and allowing for more positive communications.
To make your returns policy more accessible, you could link to it in your website footer so it can be viewed from any page, or you could even include it in the order confirmation email.
3. Offer free returns
Customers respond positively to any eCommerce brand offering free return shipping. In fact, according to a study by Klarna, 78% of shoppers said that free returns mean they would buy more with a retailer over time, and 86% said the option of free returns will make them loyal and more likely to return to a brand.1 So, if you want your customers to keep coming back, it might be a good idea to start offering free returns!
4. Consider integrating a store credit system
Store credit can be useful for eCommerce businesses because it means that you don’t have to refund the customer, saving time and money.
It’s also beneficial for the customer as they still get their money back in the form of credit, so they can buy an alternative product that they are more likely to keep.
5. Improve your product images
One of the most common reasons for a customer to return their order is that the item they received doesn’t match their expectation based on the picture. This is why it’s important to have high quality photographs of your products, taken from different angles and zoomed in.
Videos are also a good way to demonstrate how to use your product or help customers to see what it looks like in use. The more customers see of a product before they buy it, the more accurate their expectation of it will be.
6. Audit returned stock regularly
It is important to audit returned stock at the warehouse regularly so that you can identify any issues that need addressing; for example, a product that is being returned frequently due to a manufacturing fault.
Having a fulfilment solution provider like Mosaic can help make tasks like these a lot easier. With the right technology, audits can be completed in no time, and issues can be resolved quickly.
7. Encourage reviews
Reviews are key to building up trust in your brand and can help customers to decide whether to purchase a product or not. This may help reduce returns as it enables customers to build up a better expectation of the product they are ordering.
A popular way that eCommerce brands gain reviews is to send an automated email a few days after a customer has received their product, asking them to leave a review. You can further encourage them to write a review by rewarding them with the chance to enter a prize draw or receive a discount on a future order.
8. Use customer feedback to improve your service
By encouraging reviews, you’re also opening yourself up to receiving negative feedback. However, this can actually be beneficial because you can use this feedback to identify issues with your products, processes or pricing. You can also see the honest reasons for products being returned.
If you listen and act on that feedback, you’ll improve the customer experience and hopefully grow as business as a result.
9. Manage and respond to complaints quickly
Receiving a complaint can be frustrating and potentially damaging to your business reputation. However, if you respond to the complaint quickly, making sure to deal with the issue(s) behind it, you are more likely to gain that customer’s respect and have a chance of winning them back.
Mosaic’s datahub technology allows for the speedy reporting and resolution of complaints, enhancing the customer experience.
10. Get every order right first time
It might seem obvious, but an easy way to reduce the number of returns is to get it right first time. Avoid mistakes by investing in your order processing systems, ensuring that the customer receives the right item. It’s also important to have a good quality assurance system in place, so that customers don’t receive faulty or damaged goods.
Do you need help with eCommerce returns management? Get in touch with the team at Mosaic Fulfilment Solutions and we’ll help you get every order right first time.
1. Klarna, Revolutionise returns: 78% of shoppers will buy more in the long-run if a retailer has free returns (www.klarna.com)