According to the National Retail Federation, the ecommerce return amounted to $816 billion. One more stat informs us that more than 30% of the total orders were returned. Thus, these stats are enough for you to prioritize you to create a robust ecommerce return management policy.
Thus, to help you create a strategy we along with our ecommerce experts have jotted down this blog for you. So, let’s dive in and have a look at the content of this post:
- What Are Ecommerce Returns?
- Challenges In Ecommerce Returns
- How To Manage Ecommerce Return Process?
- 3 Tips To Reduce Ecommerce Returns
- Best Ecommerce Return Practices
- How Appic Softwares Can Help You Manage Your Ecommerce Store?
What Are Ecommerce Returns?
E-commerce returns, as the name suggests, are returns of products made using an online e-commerce channel. They are distinct from traditional brick-and-mortar returns because of the reverse logistical procedure.
Customers at B&M just need to return their items to the original retailer so that it may be examined, packed, and frequently placed back on the shelves. With regard to e-commerce, this is untrue.
In a setting that is solely focused on online sales, the client must first ask to return a product online and then take certain actions, such as:
- Completing a brief form
- Downloading a shipping label; the store typically pays for this.
- Label printing
- Stowing the merchandise
- Delivering it to the designated address
Additionally, the goods may need to be transported multiple times in order to inspect, repackage, and restock them as sellable items, depending on how complicated the retailer’s fulfillment and distribution process is.
Reverse logistics is the term used to describe the complete process of a product traveling through the supply chain in the other direction, which distinguishes e-commerce returns from B&M returns.
As previously stated, the rate of returns varies by industry; nonetheless, as the Statista graphic below illustrates, returns from e-commerce sales of fashion are leading the way.
Challenges In Ecommerce Returns
For e-tailers, the e-commerce returns procedure can be complicated since it involves a number of steps that must be properly managed to prevent issues that could hurt their business.
Let’s list a few of such difficulties:
Handling returns, processing refunds or exchanges, and restocking returned goods takes more time and money, which puts a strain on budgets and reduces profitability.
An ineffective returns procedure can cause annoyance, detract from the overall purchasing experience, and possibly cost businesses business.
Damage To Brand Reputation
Inadequate return procedures damage a brand’s reputation by encouraging unhappy consumers to write unfavorable online reviews, which deters potential buyers.
Inventory Management Issues
Overselling or stock shortages can come from inaccurate inventory tracking and inventory level errors caused by inefficient return handling.
Lost Sales Opportunity
The likelihood of reselling returned goods is reduced by an ineffective returns procedure, as they may transform into:
- Lost Value Overtime
greater environmental impact since more resources are needed for the disposal, packing, and shipping of returned goods.
Thus, it is evident that a well-managed returns process is required, and it may be achieved by completing the following steps.
How To Manage Ecommerce Return Process?
Given the massive volume of returns that e-tailers encounter, it’s critical to establish a functional returns procedure that both your clients and your company can use.
Analyze Return Data
You can find areas for improvement and eventually lower your overall returns by routinely analyzing returns data.
Top e-tailers embrace AI-driven analytics as a powerful tool for returns data analysis since it provides speed, size, and granularity that aren’t achievable for humans.
These advanced skills become crucial in the following situations:
AI-driven analytics can quickly collect and evaluate return data from a variety of sources by gaining access to it through:
- Online returns portals
- Inventory management systems
- Customer feedback
With information flowing in from multiple sources, a sophisticated analytics system makes it easier to compile all the information you require in one location.
AI-based analytics is also quite helpful in identifying and organizing patterns and trends for you because it can identify:
- Common reasons for returns
- Customer demographics
- Specific product categories with high return rates
- Reveal seasonal trends
These kinds of insights enable you to strategically modify your inventory control.
Prediction & Forecasting
All e-tailers must forecast returns, and life is a lot simpler when you have the appropriate tools for the job.
A returns prediction can tell you about the approximate number of things that will be returned as well as when to expect future returns. Gaining a solid understanding of return forecasting will enable you to adjust your campaigns and promotions in response to impending shifts in consumer behavior.
AI-driven analytics, for example, may be able to forecast which products will likely have high return rates in the next season, enabling you to make data-driven decisions on your:
- Marketing strategies
Create A Clear Return Policy
Ascertain that your return policy is:
- Clearly stated
- Temporary (30–60 days)
You should also mention the requirements for products’ eligibility. For example, specify exactly which products, and under what circumstances (e.g., unopened, unused, with original packing), can be returned. By doing this, you can better control client expectations and avoid misconceptions that can cause annoyance.
Specify the kinds of refunds you plan to provide.
- Refund of cash
- Store Credit
- Product exchange
Giving consumers a choice in how they get their refund can make them more likely to make another purchase from you.
Using AI techniques to test “what-if” scenarios for policy changes can also be very beneficial. Retailers, for instance, can compute the possible effects of varying a return period on both total return rates and profit margins.
You Must Have An Easy To Use Return Portal
Create an easy-to-use returns portal on your website to maximize user-friendliness in the returns procedure. Important elements to mention are:
- Easily navigable interface
- Arrangements with shipping companies
Streamline Return Policy
When returned goods are received, handle them skillfully to reduce losses and uphold client pleasure by:
- Evaluating the returning items’ state
- completing the necessary refund or exchange quickly enough
- Restock goods that qualify
- Revise your inventory control system.
Keep Monitoring And Improving Your Return Process
Always evaluate and improve your returns procedure to give your customers a great experience.
To make sure your returns procedure is still current and user-friendly, keep an eye on industry best practices and consumer feedback.
You’ll probably agree that it’s better to minimize e-commerce returns now that you have a solid understanding of how to handle them. Let’s examine the options.
3 Tips To Reduce Ecommerce Returns
Although returns are unavoidable, there are methods you can employ to lessen the amount of returns you receive.
To provide your potential buyer with a thorough grasp of your goods, you will need to disclose more details because online customers can only touch and experience an online product after they have it.
Here is how you can reduce returns in your store:
Provide Complete Product Information
Give customers precise and thorough product information so they can decide wisely and reduce the likelihood of frustration.
- Care instructions
- Customer reviews and ratings
- High-quality images and videos
Each of these components helps your buyer grasp the purpose of your product as well as the reasons why other people find it appealing or objectionable. Thus, it’s likely that they will keep it if they order it. Alternatively, they might decide not to buy it, which would spare you the expense of shipping it and then covering the cost and handling of the return.
Quickly Respond To Customer Queries
Respond to questions and complaints from customers in a timely and professional manner to show that you value their business. This can lessen the possibility of a repeat incident and help turn a bad experience into a good one.
Offering email, chat, and phone help through many channels can facilitate customer communication.
In our round-the-clock environment, chatbots and virtual assistants driven by AI are perfect for this. They can offer immediate assistance to address problems and are constantly accessible online.
Pre-sale consultations/Post sale-followup
Selling high-investment products needs support for clients who want help selecting the proper product; this makes the decision-making process easier for them and lowers the likelihood that they will return the item.
Following up with customers and providing troubleshooting after a sale is a fantastic way to make sure they are happy with their purchase and to offer any assistance that may be needed. Catching and fixing problems early can prevent them from becoming bigger problems later on.
These actions will undoubtedly contribute to lower returns. Some of the industry’s existing best practices for e-commerce returns can also help these tactics.
Best Ecommerce Return Practices
Since the early 1990s, e-commerce has been continuously expanding and changing. Some best practices have now been discovered.
Let’s examine the top five things you ought to concentrate on:
Use Technology To Manage Your Returns
Accept technology as a means of streamlining and improving your returns handling procedure.
For speed and efficiency, you can automate a large portion of your returns process with modern technologies, such as AI-driven analytics.
Updates for inventory management are one significant area in which this technology is being used. The availability of the returned item can be automatically updated in your inventory levels using AI-based analytics, ensuring that your stock levels are accurate and preventing overstock and understock.
Furthermore, powerful analytics can determine the most economical return methods and routes in addition to automatically transferring returns to the nearest warehouse with the most demand.
This degree of automation results in lower costs and more efficiency.
Customers appreciate being acknowledged by the merchants they do business with. Customers now want a more individualized purchasing experience.
This implies that you should show your customer base that you understand them in order to win them over. You may design a hyper-personalized shopping experience that appeals to your target market with the appropriate technology and strategy.
Thousands of data sets on consumer behavior, preferences, and purchase patterns are analyzed using AI-driven analytics. With a deeper understanding of your customers thanks to the information provided, you may offer more individualized and focused product recommendations, which will reduce the likelihood that items will be returned.
Showcase Your Return Policy
Did you know that 67% of consumers, according to Invesp, look up return policies before deciding what to buy? Making your return policy simple for clients to locate is vital for this reason.
To accomplish this, make a:
- A dedicated webpage on your website for return policies
- Each product page includes a link to the return policy.
- FAQ with the policy page
- On the checkout page, a link
Because the buyer will have the facts they require and won’t believe they’ll be stuck with anything they don’t want, you’ll build their confidence and trust.
Offer Free & Convenient Return
Making returns as simple as possible is your best bet if you want people to keep coming back to your store even after they have returned an item.
You can accomplish this by offering:
- Prepaid labels for mailing returns
- Several drop-off sites or services for pick-up
- Notifications upon completion of refunds
Although it may be expensive, offering free return shipping is an essential step to both satisfy customers and maintain competitiveness.
The significance of integrating sustainability into all facets of your organization, including e-commerce returns management, is growing in tandem with e-commerce.
You can achieve this if you:
- Cut down on packing waste
- Returned goods are recycled whenever possible.
Your e-commerce firm will develop and thrive if you use these best practices to encourage responsible consumer behavior (incentives for eco-friendly decisions).
How Appic Softwares Can Help You Manage Your Ecommerce Store?
Appic Softwares has an experienced team of ecommerce developers that you can hire and manage your ecommerce store. You can even hire dedicated developers from us and ensure there is no downtime in your ecommerce website.
Being a leading Ecommerce development company, we have complete knowledge of how to manage your returns, create a loyalty program, and more.
So, what are you waiting for?