When a customer chooses to return a product, you are getting an opportunity to build loyalty.
Because if this process is handled well, the customer is likely to feel more comfortable with ordering from you again.
But while customer satisfaction is key to success in e-commerce, your policy and process must make financial sense. Keep reading to find out how you can use returns to gain returning customers and build your brand.
Why you should offer easy returns
These days, online shoppers expect to be able to return products and get their money back within a short period of time. And many check return policies before making an online purchase.
Offering a returns policy that exceeds expectations might seem counter intuitive financially. It might impact your revenue negatively in the short term but can contribute to a long-term increase in profits. View it as an investment. You will convey that you are confident in your products and committed to your customers.
Naturally, you can only do what your budget allows. Since returns are often more costly to process than orders, this can be a challenge. With a third-party partner for e-commerce logistics, the process is streamlined. They will have a process in place, which will help reduce costs initially as well as long term.
How to offer competitive returns
To stay competitive in e-commerce today, offering a friction-free returns process is vital. This can be done in several ways. For example, by collecting data for optimisation, communicating clearly, streamlining the process and reviewing the returns policy. Keep reading to learn more.
Collect and analyse data
Why are your customers sending products back? What is the experience like from their perspective? By gathering data about questions such as these, you can gain new insights about your returns process and go on to improve it.
The returns process is an opportunity to communicate with your customers. Providing them with clear instructions and everything that they need to make a return will be perceived as helpful and considerate. Work proactively by posting you returns policy on your website, somewhere where it is easy to find. Also make sure that your customer service team is read up on the policy and ready to answer questions about it.
Naturally customers want their money back fast, and you should strive to process returns as quickly as possible. A way to ameliorate longer waiting times is to send status updates. This way customers can find information about how far along in the process the return is and when they can expect money in their account, without having to contact customer service.
When customers look for a returns policy, they do not want to be greeted by a bureaucratic document. Most people would prefer a simple answer in plain English. Are returns free? How does it work? Do they need to print anything out?
Consider posting a straightforward text about your policy for returns, making the important facts crystal clear. Also include the most important information from the returns policy on product pages. If you offer free returns, this can be displayed as a selling point in the header. It will strengthen the legitimacy of your brand and help new customers distinguish your business from less serious ones.
Bring in help from a third party
Optimising returns is a long-term investment in loyal customers. Does it feel like an overwhelming task to take on? A third party logistics company might be able to offer your business exactly the e-commerce logistics that you need.
They can help minimise the volume of returns, by reducing errors in picking, packing and shipping. A third party will also be able to advise you on your returns policy, seeing as they come from an outside perspective and can properly evaluate the efficiency of your returns policy, all the while carrying out the returns in an efficient and cost-effective manner.